$50,000 for abortion access: health group

TASMANIA'S leading youth health organization spends more than $50,000 a year helping young women access abortions, a Legislative Council committee has heard.

The Link youth health network vice president Kim Boyer said the unwillingness of Tasmanian public hospitals to provide or be involved in the provision of terminations means young women often don't have the resources  to terminate their pregnancy.

And a lack of clarity around the law means many young women are stressed and feel rushed when they do access a support service.

The Link chief executive David Perez said that supporting young women with an unwanted pregnancy was a major use of the youth health fund.

The committee heard that The Link will pay for counseling, termination services and even flights and accommodation for them and a support person to Melbourne for a termination that cannot be done in Tasmania.

It has spent between $57,500 and $59,400 per year for the past three years on helping women access termination, but went into a closed hearing to discuss the number of women involved.

"We are hoping for it not to be widely publicly known that our service is supported by government to provide terminations," Ms Boyer said.

The service supports people aged 12 to 25, and provides funding for those with no other resources.

"There's a very serious issue of equality here - women with access to information, support and and resources can negotiate the current system," Ms Boyer said.

It is the third day of public hearings on the Reproductive Health (Access to Terminations) Bill 2013.

The Bill passed the lower house in April and would remove abortion from the Criminal Code, allowing abortion on consent up to 16-weeks and after that on the recommendation of doctors that continuing the pregnancy would affect the woman's mental and physical health.

The hearing will continue this afternoon.


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