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The Advertiser reports desperate international students are being forced to take drastic measures including prostitution to pay for abortions according to advocates.
The report points out how international students who come to Australia to pursue education have no access to Medicare and rely completely on private health insurance.
Most of these private health insurance companies do not offer access to pregnancy-related issues including abortion for the first year.
This decision to restrict pregnancy related payment for the first year was taken after number of claims was made by international students.
The Advertiser writes that in 2009 researchers found that one in three abortions at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital was for international students.
Following this high rate of claims, health insurers scaled back their cover.
International Students Sexual Health Network co-ordinator Georgia Babatsikos told The Advertiser that students are being forced to fork out upto $800 on their own to have abortion because insurance is not available to cover the cost.
“We’re concerned because there are students turning to prostitution,” she said, adding, “There were so many claims within the first 12 months … so now (the insurers) don’t have to cover those expenses.”
Ms Babatsikos, a research and Deakin University lecturer, also said the universities have deals with specific insurers and most international students accept the recommendation without question.
Following this, experts advocate that more awareness about contraception options and sex education needs to be made available to students.
For more information on types of contraception available, click here.