and in WA

Issue 

By Anna Drews

PERTH — State government proposals to amalgamate the privately owned St John of God with the publicly owned Bunbury regional hospital have brought to the fore the issue of abortion rights and job losses.

If the plan is implemented, the St John of God, a Catholic order, will administer the combined hospital.

While health minister Peter Foss has indicated he is in favour of a separate abortion clinic on the hospital grounds, the chairman of the St John of God Health Care System is opposed to an abortion clinic being built in the hospital grounds.

The Women's Electoral Lobby (WEL) is campaigning in favour of the clinic being established in the hospital itself rather than in a separate building.

Bunbury already has a community action group, and WEL hopes to initiate a similar body in Perth to pressure the government to support abortion rights.

"WEL pledged its commitment to participation in a community-action based group if such a group was raised. We think this is of national importance. Feminists in other states are helping us with this campaign", Ruth Greble from the WEL explained to Green Left Weekly.

Keith Wilson, the former Labor minister for health, is now on the board of St John of God. Wilson as minister opposed the safe sex campaign, instead supporting a "Just Say No" campaign.

Right to Life forces in Western Australia are currently pushing to have abortion made a criminal offence.