For a long time the issue of abortion has caused much controversy both in Australia and the world over. The fact that it is considered legal in some Australian states and approached differently in others further creates confusion over the matter. It can very easily become an impassioned topic of conversation and one that has recently come back into the spotlight as a result of political attention, failed attempts at reform in New South Wales and successful reform in the Northern Territory.

With each state having different rules, laws and regulations, it can become very confusing. Below is a state by state summary of abortion law in Australia, we hope it provides some clarity.

Queensland & New South Wales Abortion Law

Despite recent pushes from The Greens Party, abortion remains on the Crimes Acts in NSW and Queensland but abortion can provided lawfully in both states when a doctor believes a woman’s physical and/or mental health is at risk. It also requires that doctors consider social, economic and other medical factors.

Australian Capital Territory Abortion Law

Abortion is legal in the ACT, but the procedure must be performed by a medical practitioner.

Victorian Abortion Law

In Victoria, abortion is considered legal up to 24 weeks’ gestation. Beyond the 24 week limit, it is only legal if two doctors considered the procedure to be in the best interests of the patient. As was intended in the recent push for reform in NSW, which failed, in Victoria 150 metre protection zones exist to protect patients and clinic staff from protestors.

South Australian Abortion Law

Abortion is a crime in South Australia if the legal guidelines set out by the government are not adhered to. It is considered legal if two doctors agree that the patient’s mental and physical health is at risk or that the foetus is suffering from an abnormality.

Tasmanian Abortion Law

In Tasmania, abortion is legal up to 16 weeks gestation. Beyond the point of 16 weeks, as with other states, the procedure requires the approval of two doctors to be considered legal. As in Victoria, South Australia have 150 metre protest safety zones in place to protect clinic staff and patients attending clinics.

Western Australian Abortion Law

In Western Australia, abortion is considered as legal up to 20 weeks’ gestation. Some restrictions apply including  the age of the pregnant patient.

Northern Territory Abortion Law

Recent reform means that medical abortion (abortion pill RU486) is now legal in the Northern Territory, making the option of termination more accessible to women of the Territory. Surgical abortion is legal to 14 weeks with one doctor’s approval, and at 14 – 23 weeks with an additional doctor’s consent. It is considered illegal after 23 weeks’ gestation unless the pregnant woman’s life is in grave danger. Like Victoria and Tasmania, 150 metre protection zones are in place to help protect clinic staff and patients from protestors.

You can find more detailed state by state explanations of Australia’s different abortion laws online. To confidentially discuss your own circumstances and the details of medical termination or surgical abortion, to discuss a possible pregnancy, pregnancy test or an unplanned pregnancy, contact the team of experts at Gynaecology Centres Australia.

Gynaecology Centres Australia are experts in early pregnancy advice, family planning, they can provide information on pap smears, Femscreen, contraception, sterilization, Hormone Releasing Intrauterine System (IUS), abortion, fertility, reproductive health advice and a range of other gynaecological services. Visit one of our five gynaecology clinics in Wollongong, Canberra, Newcastle, Gosford or Sydney – or find us online.