If you have an unwanted pregnancy or pregnancy complications, it’s important to look at all your options. Abortion is a safe procedure, but there are a couple of differences around. When you can legally access abortion based on different states and territories. There are different types of abortion you can explore based on your stage of pregnancy, and it’s worthwhile talking to a reliable and unbiased source for more information.

This might help if:

  • You’re looking for reliable information about abortion
  • You or your partner has an unwanted pregnancy
  • You want to know where to find out about the legality of abortion in Australia
girl holding text books

Are there different types of abortion?

An abortion is the termination (end) of a pregnancy by a procedure that empties the uterus (womb) of an embryo or foetus. Abortions are performed at specialist clinics or hospitals.

The most common type of abortion is a surgical procedure called a suction curette. This involves the removal of the lining and the contents of the uterus by applying gentle suction to the inside of the uterus with a small plastic tube. This is a safe, simple and low risk procedure when done between 7-12 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure takes about 15 minutes, but you will need to be at the clinic or hospital for about four hours.

A low-risk alternative to surgery used for terminating pregnancies earlier than 7–9 weeks (depending on the clinic), is a medication called RU486 (mifepristone). It is sometimes called ‘the abortion pill’, and is the most widely known medication used for this procedure. It’s available in some clinics in Australia and is up to 98 per cent effective when used in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Is abortion legal in Australia?

Each state and territory in Australia has its own unique law regarding abortion. For more detailed information on laws in different states and territories, check out the Children by Choice website.

Where can I get more information?

There are some really safe and supportive abortion and family planning clinics which you can go to get reliable advice. For reliable, unbiased information about abortion in your state or territory, you can contact:

You can also discuss your options with your GP.

It’s important to be aware that many pregnancy counselling services hotlines and websites that you might come across through search engines are run by anti-abortion organisations. Try to stick to reputable sources for information and counselling on abortion so as to avoid being given biased advice.

What can I do now?

  • Talk to a reliable source for more information like a family planning clinic.
  • Discuss how you’re feeling with someone you trust.
  • Make the decision that’s right for you.
Last reviewed: 21 November, 2016
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