PEACEFUL prayer has contributed to Albury’s abortion rate nearly halving, according to Roland von Marburg.
The right to life campaigner’s wife Anna has been part of a regular protest outside Albury’s Englehardt Street abortion clinic.
In retiring from practice, Dr von Marburg cited pressures related to the couple’s very public anti-abortion stance.
"A lot of the emphasis has been placed on our pro-life activities and my wife and I have been involved in peaceful prayer and providing assistance to mothers and their babies in the area and this has lead to almost a halving of the abortion rate in Albury, along with the assistance and prayers of many others,” Dr von Marburg said.
Asked how he could justify that claim, Dr von Marburg said “by the amount of days that the clinic is closed here in Englehardt Street”.
"When we started it was open every Thursday and now it is getting down to one in two,” he said.
A representative of the Fertility Control Clinic, which operates the Albury premises, said only Dr Kathy Lewis who attends the rooms on Thursdays could respond.
However, a retired clinical psychologist Susie Allanson, who worked for the clinic until August, cited a range of other factors that could have contributed to demand for abortions in Albury changing.
“It’s always difficult to know what the abortion rate is, there have been many learned minds look at that,” Dr Allanson said.
“There may have been reasons that abortions have reduced, it may be to do with a greater uptake of the longer-acting contraceptive Implanon and Merina and copper IUDs.
“They could be a factor and we know with medical abortions there’s been a lot of work to encourage medical practitioners to provide terminations in regional areas and that’s gradually happening.
“The other thing is women may end having to travel to Melbourne instead of going to a clinic where they have to face such disgusting and intimidating behaviour.
“We know anti-abortionists they’re being helpful and providing counselling from their point of view, but I know the women that go there are deeply distressed.”
Dr von Marburg said he and his wife would continue to promote their side of the abortion debate.
"We will always, Annie and I, feel passionate about pro-life issues and we will do whatever we reasonably can to assist in those issues,” he said.
That is in spite of online abuse and physical menacing with Dr von Marburg saying his wife had “been throttled in the neck” while on a vigil outside the Englehardt Street clinic.
“Nobody likes to be vilified,” he said.