Abortion care is mental health care!

MSI Australia
3 min readJul 14, 2022
A crowd of people at the Victoria State Library holding pro-choice protest signs against the outcome of overturning Roe v. Wade.
Image source: Personal photo taken at the rally

Alison Fonseca gave the following speech at the “Defend Abortion Rights: Maintain the Rage!” rally on Saturday, 9 July 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.

My name is Alison Fonseca and I am the Manager of Psychosocial Health at MSI Australia, the only national provider of medical and surgical abortion care. We consider mental health support to be an integral part of healthcare, including abortion.

My team of counsellors speak every day with people who are struggling to navigate barriers to abortion in Australia. We talk to people about ALL five pregnancy options: abortion, adoption, care, kinship care and parenting.

Since Roe v. Wade was overturned, dedicated people working in healthcare have, like you, experienced distress about the threat to abortion access. We are so heartened to see and hear your support. Thank you!

In the Census data just released, mental health concerns are the number one chronic disease in the country. Mental health services are in huge demand. Yet, timely mental health support is life-changing.

Regardless of whether women and pregnant people choose to have an abortion, or choose to continue with a pregnancy, there is an impact on their mental health. Around one in ten report being judged, pressured or coerced in their decision.

Many clients report grief and loss, some lose relationships, others talk about being in desperate financial circumstances with no way of affording contraception, and some describe a worsening of existing mental health difficulties.

The majority of women using our services already have children. Choosing abortion can be a protective decision — to ensure the care of the children they do have. So often, we see that if a parent is coping, so are the children.

Mental health support has to be recognised and resourced as a non-negotiable part of both maternal healthcare and abortion care.

We must fight to improve access to abortion care for people on temporary visas and from refugee backgrounds. Many have experienced trauma, and many live with uncertain futures. We call on government and private health insurers to improve financial support for these vulnerable groups.

Every missed opportunity to improve the mental health of women and pregnant people seeking abortion care, comes at a huge cost to the community.

Abortion care is mental health care!

We say:
To those from previous generations unable to access abortion care including mental health care, we see you and we acknowledge your struggle.

To those who have had abortions, we respect your right to choose. We know your decision was not made lightly.

To the family members, partners and friends supporting women and pregnant people during times of indecision and fear, we thank you.

To the mental health workers in Australia, in the US and across the world, who every day, support people during their pregnancy options and abortion care journeys, we stand in solidarity.

Abortion care is mental health care!

Alison Fonseca is the Manager — Psychosocial Health for MSI Australia



MSI Australia

MSI Australia is the leading, accredited, national provider for abortion, contraception and vasectomy.