Late 2021 saw a positive development in Australian legislation and women’s medical rights when Northern Territory laws were passed to better facilitate access to later-term abortions.

Currently, one percent of abortions in the Northern Territory occur after 20 weeks, due to the identification of a serious or ultimately lethal abnormality in the foetus.

Northern Territory parliament passed amendments to the abortion law in the NT late in the evening on November 30th, 2021, following a conscience vote. The amendments:

  • Increase the gestational limit for pregnancy terminations from 23 to 24 weeks.
  • Enable pregnant women in the Northern Territory to access an abortion between 14 and 24 weeks gestation. This requires consultation with one doctor (formerly, the approval of two independent doctors was required).
  • Legalise late-term abortions after 24 weeks under certain medical grounds following consultation with and approval from two independent doctors.

Northern Territory Abortions – Facts

Surgical abortion was first legalised in the NT in 1974. The first legal abortions in the Northern Territory reported by Medicare occurred in 1984, with the highest number to date (300) occurring in 1992.

Medical abortion in the NT was decriminalised in 2017. Before this, only surgical abortions were legal and these could only be performed in a hospital and in the presence of at least two doctors.
Furthermore, abortions after 23 weeks were illegal in the Northern Territory before now, with the only exception being for cases where continuing the pregnancy would have endangered the woman’s life.

Current Northern Territory Abortion Law

The 2021 amendments allow for improved access to safe, legal abortions for Northern Territory women in complex, rare cases, including where a doctor discovers a significant foetal anomaly later in the pregnancy. Up until now, women in these heartbreaking circumstances were forced to access these high-level services interstate (if at all) – an option that is not feasible for everyone, particularly women in more vulnerable and lower socio-economic circumstances, or who live in rural and remote communities.

In such cases, extremely difficult and heartbreaking decisions must be made about continuing the pregnancy, and in many of these, termination of the pregnancy is the only feasible alternative. The stress, grief, and other psychological and physical ramifications of such a decision can not be understated, and access to straightforward and safe legal options is crucial for the wellbeing of the mother and her family and the very best possible health outcomes. It is also the most humane option for the unborn child.

While the relative number of women the new laws will impact is very small (likely fewer than ten per year in the NT), it is a very positive and necessary result for women in the most difficult of circumstances. It will also benefit women in regional and remote communities who have limited access to local high-level women’s healthcare.

Choose Gynaecology Centres Australia for NSW/ACT Abortions

Gynaecology Centres Australia is a leading private provider of first-trimester abortions in NSW and the ACT. We have five convenient clinic locations in:

  • Sydney, NSW
  • Newcastle, NSW
  • Gosford, NSW
  • Wollongong, NSW
  • Canberra, ACT

Accessing first trimester abortions through our clinics is safe and legal, and the care we deliver is world standard. Our team of compassionate doctors, nurses, and other support staff is proud to provide concise, comprehensive and unbiased information alongside first trimester surgical abortions  and medical abortions up to 9 weeks gestation.

Visiting our clinics does not require a referral from your GP.


Please call 02 9585 9599 or complete our online booking form.