For many people, abortion is a contentious topic. There are few (if any) other medical procedures that are considered as socially controversial within Australia. This is an issue which is important in women’s health.

One of the most common things many gynaecologists encounter is the perception and widespread narrative that women who seek abortion must be irresponsible, lazy about contraception, selfish, or very young. This could not be further from the truth, and these narratives stigmatise women who have sought access to or had an abortion.

Doctors and other medical professionals who care for thousands of women who have abortions attest to the fact that no decision end a pregnancy is easy nor is it made lightly.

There is also a misconception that by making abortion services widely available, ending a pregnancy will become a more popular option for women and young girls who fail to otherwise plan to prevent pregnancy.

It’s important to understand that no woman considers abortion as a method of birth control, and the decision to have an abortion is extremely difficult to make. These complex decisions are made in the context of a woman’s life.

Abortion in Australia

  • Abortion is amongst Australia’s most common surgical procedures, and as many as one in four Australian women will have an abortion at some point in her life.
  • When combined with medical abortions (using the drug RU486), there are currently approximately 80,000 abortions performed in Australia each year. This is the lowest rate for abortion in Australia since the 1980s.
  • Those who seek abortion come from all walks of life: single, married, divorced, de facto, childless, and mothers. They range from young teenage girls to women on the cusp of menopause. It is, however, most common for women in their 20s.
  • More than 80% of women who seek abortion do so before they are nine weeks pregnant.
  • Women who already have children are more likely to seek an abortion than women who have not had children.
  • Women who are victims of partner violence are more likely to end a pregnancy.
  • There are relatively very few gynaecologists who offer abortion services. As such, those who do offer these services privately are highly-trained and experienced in this specialist field.

Why Do Women Have Abortions in Australia?

There are numerous reasons why women may elect to end a pregnancy.

First and foremost among these is the failure of contraception.

No form of contraception is 100% effective, and every type of contraception (even the very best ones and when used perfectly) will fail in some cases.

Effectiveness rates for contraceptives (when used perfectly)*:

  • Contraceptive implant 99.95%
  • Hormonal IUD 99.80%
  • Copper IUD 99.20%
  • Contraceptive Injection 94.00%+
  • Contraceptive Vaginal Ring 91.00%+
  • Oral Contraceptive Pill 91.00%+
  • Progestogen-Only Pill 91.00%+
  • Diaphragm 88.00%+
  • Male Condom 82.00%+
  • Female Condom 79.00%+
  • Withdrawal 78.00%+

(Source = Family Planning NSW)

Other reasons for seeking an abortion include:

  • Foetal Abnormality – Pregnancy testing specifically for conditions including Down syndrome and routine ultrasounds can identify significant foetal abnormalities, usually in the second trimester. These anomalies can cause diminished or no quality of life for the unborn child in the future. It can also have a detrimental effect (emotional, financial, practical, moral) on the family faced with lifetime care of a child with a serious disability. Abortion is an option and, for example, 90% of pregnancies diagnosed with Down syndrome are currently terminated in Australia.
  • Sexual Assault/Family Violence – Women may be more likely to seek an abortion if they have a lower level of personal control over their reproductive health. This includes women who do not have access to effective contraception, are impacted by family violence, or who are victims of sexual assault.
  • Maternal Medical Conditions – for some women, carrying a pregnancy to term may risk her physical or mental health. For example, a woman who receives a cancer diagnosis during her pregnancy and requires treatment but can’t undergo it while pregnant.

Statistically, it is extremely rare for women to have an abortion because they have failed to use contraception responsibly. The vast majority of abortions are carried out for women who are making the most difficult decision of their lives in the best interests of themselves and their existing family based on their unique circumstances and their future. It may often also be the best decision for the unborn child.

A heartbreaking decision, it is made in the best interests of not just the woman, but her family and existing children as well.

Abortion at Gynaecology Centres Australia

The provision of expert abortion services is an important aspect of women’s health medicine, and access to abortion is an intrinsic aspect of a women’s rights over her own body.

Gynaecology Centres Australia offers abortion services as well as general gynaecology and other women’s health services. We also carry out male vasectomy. We aim to empower women to control their own fertility by providing appropriate health services, including contraception, and give women choice over their bodies and their lives.

Contact us for supportive and compassionate care with understanding – with full confidentiality and without judgement, we are proud to deliver the highest standard of care.

Please call our clinic on (02) 9159 6894 or contact us today via our website at