'Myths and silence' still surround abortion

ONE in five North Coast women will have an abortion at some point in their lives but our reluctance to talk about it means little is known about the process, Southern Cross University has found.

In an effort to provide health services with vital information about challenges women in country NSW can have in accessing pregnancy termination services, a SCU researcher is carrying out a confidential study.

Through interviews with women who have had the experience, the researcher, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will identify factors that both facilitate and hinder the process.

The project was approved by SCU's Human Ethics Committee this week and the researcher is keen to get started straight away.

She said women in rural areas often had to travel long distances to terminate a pregnancy and even though the procedure was common, there were still "a lot of myths and silence" surrounding abortion.

She also there was scant research on women's experiences of seeking access to terminations despite the fact that a significant proportion of Australian women had done so and hoped a better understanding of the issue would help develop "appropriate services".

Women aged 18 years and over who have terminated a pregnancy while living in NSW are invited to take part in a confidential phone interview.

More information about the project is available by phoning 0497 808 769 or emailing womenshealth@scu.edu.au.

Only the researcher has access to the number and address.

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