In 2019 she launched the ‘Abortion Online’ telehealth service for medical abortion via a non-for-profit social enterprise called Nowsis. And now, several years down the track, she's proven the idea. But what drives this busy woman to do this unprofitable work? Her background, tells the story.
Since qualifying as a doctor 30 years ago, Dr Emma Boulton has had a broad range of experience in a variety of settings, including emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynaecology, public health, retrieval medicine and general practice.
A pivotal moment in her medical career happened whilst Emma was working as a junior doctor in Papua New Guinea. She witnessed women dying in childbirth from common conditions which are easily preventable such as malaria and TB. There were (and are still) unacceptably high levels of child mortality from simple conditions such as gastroenteritis and pneumonia. Emma realised at that time, that women’s reproductive health holds the key to the health of any society.
From that moment, and confirmed in the experience she’s gained since then, Emma firmly believes that by enabling women to have the right number of children in their care, and for them to stay healthy while doing so, enables families to feed and educate healthy children. And ultimately, the whole of society benefits.
In the last 12 years Emma has been drawn into clinical service delivery as a business owner in private practice in Sydney. Clinic 66 utilises a unique primary care based model providing a full range of reproductive and sexual health services to both women and men. These services include antenatal care, family planning, contraception, menopause, and of course, abortion care.
The tight knit, collegiate model brings together Specialists (eg, Gynaecologists, Sexual Health Physicians) and GPs with extended skills and qualifications all under one roof. This provides a “one stop shop” for all things related to reproductive and sexual health, and it does so with quality assured, accessible and affordable clinical services .
Like many doctors who work in the field, Emma never planned to work in abortion care, and found herself in it quite by accident. Even amongst medical professionals, abortion care is still a stigmatised and isolated field. Although some progress has been made with the abortion law reform, it will take time for attitudes to change.
Emma and her team of highly skilled clinicians proudly deliver high quality abortion care services to all women who attend the clinic, and take pride in training new doctors in the field, despite being unsupported by state health services or medical colleges.
Dr Boulton is regularly found working as one of the clinical team, and has grown ever more passionate about caring for women who are judged, ignored and stigmatised by modern Australian society.
In addition to abortion care, Clinic 66 provides services in other areas which are often difficult and embarrassing for people to talk about, but which cause great distress to most people at sometime in their lives. These are conditions and problems which are still considered taboo, and are badly managed in traditional general practice.
Clinic 66 has been a proud provider of medical and surgical abortion since it’s inception in 2013, and Emma has always maintained that abortion care should be as scrutinised and regulated as any other part of health care. Therefore, Clinic 66 is accredited with National Standards for Safety and Quality in Health Care as a Day Surgery and with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Until now, NSW Women from all backgrounds, have been unable to access high quality affordable service provision in the public sector or from within faith based religious hospitals. This has led to the most vulnerable women receiving the worst care; a classic example of the “Inverse Care Law”. With its unique and innovative model, Clinic 66 provides GP led primary care using a holistic model for women’s and men’s reproductive and sexual health. This is unlike that of any other abortion care provider in Australia.