When can you get an abortion? This is a question many women will ask at least once throughout their reproductive lifespan, and there is much misinformation relating to the facts pertaining to this. Women deserve to be properly informed and to have easy access to the healthcare they need. Abortion services are an intrinsic aspect of women’s health.

Abortion in Australia

While Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and South Australia are the only states/territories in this country to collect these statistics, it is estimated that between 70,000 and 80,000 abortions take place throughout Australia every year. This represents 2% of all pregnancies in this nation and is below the global average rate.

Women from all walks of life and of all ages across the reproductive spectrum (majority of ages between 15-44) seek pregnancy terminations, making the choices they need to about their bodies, their families, and their lives. The vast majority of abortions are elective and occur in the first trimester, however, it is not an easy or simple decision to make and there remains some stigma and confusion about the legality and access to these services throughout Australia.

Australian Abortion Legislation

Abortion is legal throughout Australia. Western Australia was the first state to fully decriminalize abortion in 1998, and South Australia was the last to do so just this year.

There are, however, key differences between the states in terms to access to abortion services. This can cause great confusion.

Each Australian state and territory prohibits unlawful abortion, however, it is important to understand that there are specific circumstances in which it is legal.

When Can You Get An Abortion – State by State

Please note this information is correct at the time of publication, but abortion laws are subject to change with new legislation.

New South Wales

Legal up to 22 weeks gestation. Later terminations after this point may be available following independent approval by two doctors and for specific medical reasons following counselling. It is also set into law that there be safe access zones of 150m around abortion clinics to protect the rights of women to be free from harassment.

Abortions in NSW are predominantly provided by private clinics like Gynaecology Centres Australia.

Private clinics will only perform abortions under 20 weeks gestation and GCA specialises in first trimester only up to 14 weeks.


Legal when provided by a medical professional like those at GynaecologyCentres Australia. There is no gestational limit per ACT law (note that GCA performs this service only up to 14 weeks). Gynaecology Centre’s Australia (Canberra) is actually located in Queanbeyan (NSW), a suburb adjacent to Canberra (ACT) and is therefore under NSW jurisdiction.


Legal to 24 weeks gestation, and thereafter may be provided with the approval of two independent doctors. Safe access zones within 150m of an abortion clinic are legislated. It is a crime for an unqualified person to perform a termination in Victoria. While some public abortion services are available, most abortions in Victoria are carried out in private clinics.


Legal and available on request up to 22 weeks and may be performed after this time provided approval is given by two doctors. There are also legislated safe access zones of 150m around abortion clinics. There are several private abortion providers in Queensland and some GPs also offer medical abortions in this state.


Legal up to 16 weeks. It is illegal to protest up to 150m of an abortion clinic, and abortions after 16 weeks may be performed if recommended by two doctors.

South Australia

Unlawful termination is considered a crime, however, abortion is legal if two doctors recommend it based on a serious foetal abnormality or if the mother’s physical/mental health is endangered if the pregnancy continues. It must be performed within 23 weeks after conception and by a qualified doctor in a prescribed hospital. In those specified instances where terminations are accessible in South Australia, they are provided to women through the public health system and free of charge.

Northern Territory

One doctor may legally approve the first-trimester abortion up to 14 weeks, and with a second doctor’s approval, it may be performed between 14-23 weeks. After 23 weeks, abortion is illegal and a crime unless performed to save the life of the pregnant woman. Safe access zones legislated. These NT services are publically available at the Royal Darwin Hospital and the Alice Springs Hospital.

Western Australia

Legal up to 20 weeks, however, there are certain restrictions for women under the age of 16. Abortion services are restricted after 20 weeks except in extenuating circumstances. The procedure must be performed by a qualified medical practitioner and strict guidelines govern the procedure and its access. Most clinics are private and located in Perth.

In several states, doctors who have a conscientious objection to the termination of pregnancy are not obliged to offer an abortion. They are, however, legally obliged to disclose this and refer their patient to another provider who is known to not have a conscientious objection.

Timing for Surgical vs Medical Abortion

For both surgical and medical abortions, it is best practice to wait until the pregnancy is at 6 weeks gestation when an intrauterine pregnancy can be identified. (This does not apply for cases where there is a risk of missing an ectopic pregnancy.)

Medical abortion is approved by the TGA to be available from 6 weeks (42 days) up to 9 weeks (63 days) from the last menstrual period.

Surgical abortion in NSW is available at any time from 6 weeks (42 days) from the last menstrual period to 14 weeks (98 days).

At Gynaecology Centres Australia, we perform first-trimester surgical abortions up to 14 weeks. This is the preferred method of pregnancy termination.

We also offer medical abortions for women up to 9 weeks from conception, particularly for those who consult us through TeleHealth from rural or remote areas.

Abortion at Gynaecology Centres Australia

Gynaecology Centres Australia are OPEN.

We understand how stressful the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and its implications for all areas of life are. As an essential health service, we are open and complying with all current NSW Health regulations.

We provide safe, non-judgemental, and legal first-trimester abortion services at 5 locations in NSW and one just outside and adjacent to the ACT.

For information on abortion, contraception, women’s health, or to book a confidential appointment with us, please call 02 9585 9599 or complete our online booking form.