An abortion is the termination (end) of a pregnancy by a procedure that empties the uterus (womb) of an embryo or fetus. Abortions are performed at specialist clinics or hospitals. In Australia, the laws around abortions vary from state to state. If you have an unwanted or complicated pregnancy, it’s important that you talk to a reliable and unbiased source about the options that are available to you.
This can 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.
Are there different types of abortion?
Yes. The type of abortion depends on the stage of pregnancy.
A suction curette is the most common type of abortion in Australia. This involves gently sucking out the lining and contents of the uterus using a small plastic tube. The procedure is safe and low-risk when done between seven and 12 weeks of pregnancy. It 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 seven to nine weeks (depending on the clinic) is a medication called RU486 (mifepristone). It’s 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 law regarding abortion. For information on these various laws, check out the Children by Choice website.
Should I get an abortion?
Making this choice is really easy for some people and incredibly difficult for others. Ultimately, the decision is entirely up to you. You are the only person who understands your unique life experience and your motivations for ending or continuing a pregnancy. Here are some things you might want to consider when making this decision:
- Make sure you learn about all your different options, including becoming a parent, adoption and abortion.
- Is it the right time for you and/or your partner to become a parent?
- Do you have the support needed to raise a baby?
- Is abortion something you might feel sad or regretful about afterwards?
- Are you feeling pressure from anyone to make a decision that doesn’t sit right with you?
Where can I get more information?
There are some really safe and supportive abortion and family planning clinics that provide reliable advice. For unbiased information about abortion in your state or territory, you can contact:
- Family Planning Alliance Australia
- Dr Marie (Marie Stopes International Australia)
- Australian Women’s Health Network
- Children by Choice
You can also discuss your options with your GP.
What can I do now?
- Talk to a reliable support resource such as a family planning clinic to get more information.
- Discuss how you’re feeling with someone you trust.
- Try the ReachOut NextStep tool to get anonymous and personalised support options.