Progress in a strange world

The medical profession is not immune to societal trends, one of which is living in echo chambers where the only people you interact with are those who you agree with 100%. 

New laws came into effect on March 27 regarding access to termination of pregnancy. You know you are getting older when the previous changes didn’t seem that long ago but were in fact 25 years ago.

Dr Joe Kosterich, Clinical Editor

Compared to those legal changes, there has been very little public discussion and (unless I have missed it) virtually no heated protests or vigils from either side. While I respect the views of those who are opposed to abortion on moral or religious grounds, this does not give them the right to impose their views on others. Fortunately, the issue does not get as political here as in other countries.

Now, only one health practitioner needs to be involved in abortion care provision up to 23 weeks A GP may now provide information, do the appropriate clinical assessment, and start early medical abortion processes or provide a referral for a surgical procedure in the first consultation. Beyond 23 weeks, two medical practitioners must be involved.

More significantly, a woman requesting abortion may now self-refer to a private abortion provider without needing to consult a GP and obtain a referral.


More significantly, a woman requesting abortion may now self-refer to a private abortion provider without needing to consult a GP and obtain a referral. This may improve access, which is I suspect the reason behind the change.

A piece which caught my eye was about the “hijacking of the feminist narrative” to market tests not backed by evidence. The BMJ article states “…promoting healthcare interventions that are not supported by evidence, or while concealing or downplaying evidence, increases the risk of harm to women through inappropriate medicalisation, overdiagnosis, and overtreatment. Importantly, the problem is not with the use of health technologies, tests, and treatments per se…The problem lies in the way commercial marketing and advocacy efforts push such interventions to a much larger group of women than is likely to benefit without being explicit about their limitations”.

On social media in particular, marketing is virtually impossible to police. The only solution is education.

Meanwhile, the increased focus on women’s health in general is paralleled by an increasing disregard for the safety and privacy of women. The good news is that women’s health is improving, and this is to be celebrated as we strive to make it even better.