Abortion in Victoria

There is no accurate figure for the number of abortions performed in Australia as there is no specific data is collected in all States and Territories. The estimated number is 80,000 per year. Approximately 34% of Australian woman aged 20-29 who have ever been pregnant have had an abortion. Limited information available suggests the Australian abortion rate is decreasing, possibly due to increased uptake of very effective long acting contraceptives such as implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

The abortion legislation is different in every Australian state and Territory. The Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act was introduced in 2008.

What does the Victorian law say about abortion?

Not more than 24 weeks pregnant

The law allows you to choose to have an abortion. The service must be provided by a registered medical practitioner. Services providing the procedure beyond 16 weeks are limited and can be costly. You don't need a doctor's referral.

More than 24 weeks pregnant

The law allows for abortion if at least two doctors agree that the abortion is appropriate in all the circumstances. In making their decision, the doctors must consider all relevant medical circumstances and your current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances. However it is very uncommon for an abortion to be performed at this stage of pregnancy unless there is a fetal abnormality.

FAQs

Do I have to have counselling first?

No, you don't. If you would like to have counselling, you can do so through your doctor. Your doctor can also refer you to a specially trained counsellor. We offer one hour pregnancy choices information sessions with a nurse. These sessions provide factual information about all the options available to support you in making your decision.

How is an abortion carried out?

The two types of abortion are:

  • surgical abortion: usually performed as a day procedure, using a light general anaesthetic
  • medication  abortion: performed for pregnancies up to 9 weeks (link to fact sheet).

Where can I have an abortion?

  • A number of private abortion providers are listed in the Yellow Pages under 'Abortion'.
  • Family Planning Victoria provides medication abortion. Our nurses may also be able to assist you find a provider in your area.
  • General Practitioners: A few GPs, mostly in rural areas, provide medication abortion. Your local doctor or community health centre might be able to help you find a provider near where you live
  • Some public hospitals also provide a limited number of free abortions.

More information

  • Click here to access our fact sheets on abortion, unplanned pregnancy and other reproductive and sexual health topics

Useful websites