Abortion on the rise for women over 30

flinders-hsltc-buildingRising abortion rates for women in their 30s and 40s in Adelaide’s southern suburbs has sparked a new awareness campaign led by Flinders University.

The Southern Partnership in Sexual and Reproductive Health, which launched on December 6, will provide information to all women – with a focus on those aged over 30 – about fertility awareness and management.

Under the partnership, a working group of University researchers and staff from Flinders Medical Centre, Noarlunga Health Services, Southern Women’s Health and Shine SA has been formed to help improve sexual and reproductive health services in the southern region.

The campaign – funded through Flinders University’s Knowledge Exchange Grants – includes a series of video clips showing different scenarios that can lead to an unwanted pregnancy, with the main focus on fertility awareness and where to go for help.

Titled ‘Contraception – is it working for you?’, the 29-second advertisements are based on research on the sexual and reproductive health of women over the age of 30 and are expected to be available at various health clinics and other venues across the south, as well as relevant websites Australia-wide.

Flinders University project coordinator Wendy Abigail, a Lecturer in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, said a key aim of the partnership is to increase community awareness about women’s fertility management.

“Abortion rates for women between the ages of 30 and 50 increased significantly between 1996 and 2006 in the southern area of Adelaide, despite very little change in overall termination numbers across the state during this time,” Ms Abigail said.

“While terminations for women between 15 to 19 years have declined, the 30 to 50-year-old age group has increased markedly, and this could be attributed to changing fertility patterns across the age groups,” she said.

Ms Abigail said the campaign also called for more government support and improved sexual health services for all women, particularly the over 30s.

“For women over 30 in SA there’s really little information targeted at them and government policies don’t cater for this age group,” she said.

“There’s a big presumption that once women hit 30 they should know everything about fertility and how to manage it but the last time they probably got this information was when they were in high school.”

The Southern Partnership in Sexual and Reproductive Health, including the video clips, was launched on Tuesday, December 6, at Flinders University’s Health Sciences Lecture Theatre Complex (pictured).

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