If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant and you aren’t ready to have a baby, there are options. But before you get too worried, it’s important to be certain that you really are pregnant. A doctor will be able to confirm whether you are or not. Once you are sure, you will need to think over what you want to do.
What is an abortion? Abortion is the termination (end) of a pregnancy by a medical procedure that empties the contents of the uterus (womb). Abortions are done at specialist clinics or hospitals.
Some women and girls, who find themselves unexpectedly pregnant, might choose to have an abortion. Others, might decide to continue with the pregnancy and become a parent or give the baby up for adoption. Whatever you decide to do, it is entirely your choice.
Abortion is a time-sensitive decision. If you think that you want to end the pregnancy, depending on how far along you are, you may need to act quickly.
To get an abortion you will need to see a doctor, who will then be able to refer you onto an abortion clinic if necessary. Read ‘Going to the doctor’ for more information about finding a doctor of your own, making an appointment and payment options. If you prefer, you could visit your local family planning clinic.
QLD & NSW – Abortion is only legal when a doctor believes a woman’s physical and/or mental health is in serious danger. In NSW social, economic and medical factors may be taken into account.
NT – Legal up to 14 weeks if two doctors agree that a woman’s physical and/or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy, or for serious foetal abnormality. Up to 23 weeks in an emergency.
SA – Legal if two doctors agree a woman’s physical and/or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy, or for serious foetal abnormality. Unlawful abortion is a crime.
TAS – Legal up to 16 weeks on request, and after that point with the approval of two doctors.
VIC – Legal up to 24 weeks. Legal post-24 weeks with two doctors’ approval
WA – Legal up to 20 weeks, some restrictions particularly for under 16s. Very restricted after 20 weeks.
Abortion is a very safe procedure in Australia. Throughout the country there are highly trained professionals, who perform this procedure every day, in safe and hygienic clinics.
There are no links between abortion and breast cancer, nor is their a link between abortion and infertility (this means that you will still be able to have children after an abortion, if you want to). If you are still concerned, visit the Children by Choice website, where you will find an excellent fact sheet explaining abortion safety in more detail.
If you’re feel a little overwhelmed by this situation, it might be worth considering talking to a counsellor or psychologist. They might be able to see your situation a little clearer, and help you reach a solution that suits you and your circumstances.
You could also talk to a trusted friend or a family member. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with someone you know, call Pregnancy Counselling Australia (1300 737 732) at anytime, it’s free and completely confidential.
If you need to talk to someone urgently, contact Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800). They are available to help – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you require medical assistance, and you don’t want to see your family doctor (or you don’t have one) a sexual health clinic is great option. Visit the Sexual Health & Family Planning Australia to find a clinic near you.