Marie Stopes International have launched a 24 hour hotline to provide Australians with free advice and support for unplanned pregnancy and sexual health issues.
“When women are faced with an unplanned pregnancy, it is vital that they have access to accurate information, help and procedure aftercare – regardless of what time of day it is,” said Jill Michelson, Acting Australian CEO of Marie Stopes International.
A recent study conducted by Marie Stopes International found that more than half of Australian women who unexpectedly get pregnant are either on the pill or using condoms at the time.
“Of the 2,041 women who commenced the study, 1,033 women confirmed having experienced an unplanned pregnancy, and 60% of those were using at least one form of contraception at the time,” said Ms Michelson.
“This is proof that unplanned pregnancy is clearly a key health issue for Australian women, so access to 24-hour help and information on abortion services is vital” Ms Michelson said. “And if the Rudd Government won’t direct funds into providing it, then we will.”
“Likewise, if someone has had unprotected sex and they think their sexual health is at risk, the sooner they can book in for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) check up, the better.”
In 2007 there were over 50,000 notifications of chlamydia nationwide. In comparison, there were only 16,962 notifications of chlamydia in 2000 – indicating that the rate of diagnosis has nearly tripled over the past seven years. “Often STIs such as chlamydia don’t have any symptoms, so can be contracted and passed on unknowingly,” Ms Michelson said.
“We believe that by providing Australians with access to a 24 hour hotline, they’ll no longer have to delay seeking help to fit in with standard working hours and potentially put their health at risk.”
The 24 hour hotline can be accessed by calling 1800 003 707. Calls to the service are free of charge from fixed line phones.
Marie Stopes International also provides an Online Abortion Information Chat Service, which can be accessed via www.abortionhelp.com.au and is available Monday – Friday 8am – 8pm and Saturday from 9am – 2pm EST.