Termination of Pregnancy Bill: Stand Against Discrimination in SA Healthcare

To all members of the South Australian House of Assembly,

As organisations and services working with and for culturally diverse and migrant communities, we express our concern over the likely consequences of any amendments to the current Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2020 that attempt to ban sex-selective abortion.

Many migrant communities and communities of colour already experience reduced access to healthcare and treatment outcomes, and we fear such an amendment risks amplifying racial profiling and discrimination in our healthcare system – as patients will undoubtedly be targeted based on their ethnic origin. 

We are concerned that any such ban would essentially operate to require doctors to police their patients and subject them to interrogation about the reasons they need to access abortion care, to try and rule out sex-selection as a motivation. This could force patients to disclose what may be complex, distressing and difficult circumstances, and could further stigmatise and traumatise members of already marginalised communities.

Given the difficulty of ruling out motivations for needing healthcare, and the likely profiling of particular community members on this question, we are also concerned that such a requirement would erode trust between doctors and patients by encouraging doctors to treat some patients with suspicion; and would risk increasing discrimination and further excluding migrant and culturally diverse communities from accessing the quality healthcare they require. This is despite the absence of evidence that sex selective terminations occur in Australia. [1]

In fact, The World Health Organisation, UNICEF and other international expert bodies have found that imposing restrictions on access to health services like abortion for sex-selective reasons has harmful impacts on patients, and puts their health and life in jeopardy. [2]

It is vital that patients from migrant backgrounds, and other traditionally marginalised communities, feel safe and in control of their healthcare – and are able to access the abortion care they need without fear of vilification or increased ristrictions due to discrimination.

We oppose discrimination in all its forms. But rather than addressing discrimination, any amendment in this area is more likely to facilitate it.

We call on you to stand against discrimination in our healthcare system, and vote for the Termination of Pregnancy Bill without amendment.


Australian Women’s Health Network
Democracy in Colour
InTouch Multicultural Centre Against Family Violence
Marie Stopes Australia
Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association
South Australian Sex Industry Network (SIN)


Jai Mara, Democracy in Colour – 0411 634 643


[1] SA Law Reform Institute, 2019. Abortion: A Review of South Australian Law and Practice. Adelaide. p.330.
[2] World Health Organisation, Preventing Gender-biased Sex Selection: An interagency statement OHCR, UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and WHO (2011).