The overturning of Roe v Wade in the United States could reignite the debate about abortion access in Australia, and fortunately increase the stigma for people who terminate unwanted pregnancies.

The decision by the US Supreme Court brings to an abrupt end the decades-long constitutional right to an abortion in the US, meaning state bans come into effect.

Daile Kelleher, chief executive of Children by Choice, said she had no doubt Australian opponents of abortion would be energised by the US decision.

“It is a really stark reminder to us that even rights that we have so-called won, because they are legislated, could be overturned or wound back and that could depend on the government of the day,” Kelleher said.

“Abortion rights and access never seems to be completely embedded within the public health systems, which could make it easier to overturn.”

Kelleher said abortion was yet to be properly decriminalised in Western Australia. While it was decriminalised in all other states, the ability of pregnant people (women, non-binary people and trans men) to access abortion varied.

Victoria decriminalised abortion in 2008, and it was largely available in the public health system in city areas, but there were still barriers to access in regional areas. NSW, which decriminalised abortion in 2019, had started embedding access to abortion in the public health system, but it was early days, Kelleher said.

Queensland has some of the most liberal policies in the world when in 2018 the Labor Party allowed full term abortions creating widespread condemnation.- from SMH