SA Health has advised women having late-term abortions they can claim thousands of dollars in Centrelink payments for a “stillborn” baby.

abortion

Parents whose babies survive an abortion procedure, but die at birth, may also be able to claim benefits for parenting and bereavement.

Centrelink requires a doctor’s letter certifying that a stillborn baby was “delivered”, in order for the parents to claim the Baby Bonus of up to $5000, or paid parental leave of $622 per week for 18 weeks.

But the South Australian Health Department has advised patients having late-term abortions that they can apply for the parenting benefits.

“Women who have had a termination of pregnancy at or over 20 weeks gestation may be eligible to apply to Centrelink for the Bereavement Payment or Paid Parental Leave,” it stated on an orange form with the SA Health logo, distributed until June this year. ” The claim form uses language that may be upsetting for some women who have experienced a termination of pregnancy.

“It is your choice whether or not you want to receive the money. If you do you must lodge a claim form.”

The SA Health document – withdrawn in June – was exposed yesterday by Catholic blogger Bernard Gaynor, who quit Bob Katter’s Australian Party when it refused to take a stance on abortion.

Mr Gaynor complained about the document in June to former prime minister Julia Gillard, who passed it on to Families Minister Jenny Macklin. Her chief of staff wrote to him, insisting parents could not get payments for “late-term abortions”.

The August 5 letter stated the Baby Bonus and Paid Parental Leave “may be paid for a stillborn child, where a medical professional has certified the stillborn child was delivered”.

“These rules recognise that the unexpected loss of a child late in pregnancy is a devastating outcome for an expectant mother and many families will have already started to purchase equipment in preparation for their baby,” it said. “However, these payments are not available for late-term abortions.”

Ms Macklin’s office declined to comment yesterday and referred questions to her department. “The department is speaking with the relevant agency (SA Health) about making amendments to the guidelines,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs said yesterday.

An SA Health spokesman said yesterday the form was withdrawn in June. “The information sheet is no longer being provided by the Pregnancy Advisory Centre,” he said.

But the latest SA Perinatal Practice Guideline, published on the SA Health website, says Centrelink payments are available for a late-term abortion for foetal abnormalities – known as Genetic Termination of Pregnancy, or GTOP



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