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Expert calls for abortion care patient support after Medibank leak

Published:14 November 2022

CQUniversity nursing lecturer and reproductive healthcare expert Lydia Mainey

Dr Lydia Mainey

After the private medical information of more than 300 patients was leaked on the dark web, CQUniversity abortion care and gender-based violence expert Dr Lydia Mainey wants to see the stigma around abortion shift to support those affected by the data breach.

Dr Mainey said that the attack has attempted to capitalise on the ongoing misogynism associated with reproductive health.

“People should not feel any shame for exercising their reproductive rights,” Dr Mainey explained.

“Around one in four pregnancy-capable people in Australia will have an abortion in their lifetime.

“Abortion is a very common procedure. Receiving abortion care does not place someone in a minority group.

“We should all be careful not to buy into imported abortion hysteria. Abortion isn’t nearly as controversial in Australia as in the United States.”

She said that recent research showed that people anticipate abortion stigma more than they actually experience it.

“Results from a recent Australian Abortion Stigma Study revealed people perceive the Australian community to be less supportive of abortion and more judgmental of people who have abortions.

“When in reality, 9 in 10 participants believe abortion should be legal (always or mostly).

“Access to safe, legal abortion is a human right that should be supported in our communities.”

To help break down these barriers, Dr Mainey encouraged colleagues, friends, and family members of those impacted by the data leak to normalise talking about abortion.

“It is important to take a stand against the intimidation and harassment of people seeking abortion care.

“One way individuals can demonstrate defiance against these criminal’s actions is to normalise and support abortion care.

“People can contribute to campaigns such as Shout Your Abortion, celebrate International Safe Abortion Day at work, and donate to charity organisations like Children by Choice.”