Dr Carol Portmann serviced the Rockhampton abortion clinic for two years Photo: Moffatt Photography
Dr Carol Portmann serviced the Rockhampton abortion clinic for two years Photo: Moffatt Photography Sandra Moffatt

Carol says regional doctors hesitant to perform abortions

FOR two years Dr Carol Portmann was flown in from Brisbane to perform abortions at the Rockhampton clinic, because no one local would.

The obstetrician, who has since moved on to a different clinic, said the provision of these services would often fall to a small number of doctors who were prepared to do it because training wasn't mandatory.

"I can't speak for doctors in regional areas, but I suspect one of the reasons doctors don't provide such services in their local areas is fear of the reaction of their other patients or colleagues," she said.

"This may damage their personal and professional standing in the community and impact on their practice... and training in termination is not part of a regular curriculum in some medical schools."

Do you support women in Queensland getting abortions?

This poll ended on 13 November 2015.

Current Results

No

63%

Yes, if the woman has been raped or tests show the foetus is sick or deformed

5%

Yes, a woman should have the right to choose what is happening to her body

30%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Dr Portmann said there was no compulsory "hands on" training in Queensland, as doctors had a right to conscientious objection, and many hospitals could not provide the training.

"This may differ in the various states, as the provision of and attitude towards termination of pregnancy varies widely state to state (and territory) as does the law," she said.

"I am an obstetrician with training in care of the high risk pregnancy. Termination of pregnancy is one of the areas that may be needed in some high risk pregnancies/circumstances, thus it was necessary for me to know how to perform termination of pregnancy."

Dr Portmann it was impossible to know what reasons women had for seeking a termination, but knew it was no one's place to judge.

"I feel it is important for women to have access to balanced information about options, so that they can make informed decisions for themselves.

"We cannot walk in the shoes of these women, only they truly know their circumstances," she said.

"Domestic/sexual violence, mental health issues, coerced sex and pregnancies are widespread in the community; it is a sign of ignorance to believe that every pregnancy is low risk, planned, wanted and supported.

"Just knowing that they have access to support and balanced information and options can sometimes be enough for a woman to make different choices in their lives; be it about their pregnancy, their relationship, their health or their contraception."

Terminations

Medical: Miscarriage is induced by medication usually under six weeks of pregnancy, and after 16-20 weeks of pregnancy.

Surgical: Termination of pregnancy is offered from six weeks of pregnancy. The upper limit of gestation is based on the skill of the provider and what is allowed in various states/clinics.



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