Seeking an abortion

The process to end a pregnancy is called abortion. Abortion is legal in Western Australia before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

After 20 weeks, abortion is only available if the woman or fetus, has a severe condition and the procedure must be approved by a panel of medical practitioners, who are specifically appointed for this role.

Every woman in Western Australia has the right to make her own choice about whether to have an abortion, or continue with a pregnancy, so long as legal requirements are met.

 

Abortion: An information booklet for consumers

Abortion: An information booklet for consumers (PDF)

Abortion: After 14 weeks when there is a fetal anomaly

Abortion: After 14 weeks when there is a fetal anomaly (PDF)

Is abortion safe?

Abortion is a safe, routine procedure, that will be experienced by nearly one in five Australian women by the age of 34. An abortion may involve taking medicines or having an operation and the options available to you will depend on your individual situation.

Generally, the earlier in the pregnancy you have an abortion, the safer it is. Therefore, it is important to discuss your options with a health care provider as early as possible.

Your health care provider will discuss possible complications of having an abortion or continuing the pregnancy. Although serious complications are not common, all medical and surgical procedures have some risks.

 

How do I access an abortion?

In WA, women can ask their usual health care provider (or GP) to assist them with a referral for abortion.

You may also seek help from one of the Women’s Health Centres or a telehealth service (listed below under Support and counselling).

You will need to make an appointment with your health care provider who will:

  • Confirm the pregnancy
  • Discuss the medical risks of abortion and pregnancy
  • Offer an option of referral to free counselling to assist with decision-making, information and support
  • Inform you that counselling is also available after an abortion. You can decide if you want to take up the counselling services that are offered
  • Refer you to an abortion provider.
Abortion: An information booklet for consumers

Abortion: An information booklet for consumers (PDF)

Abortion: After 14 weeks when there is a fetal anomaly

Abortion: After 14 weeks when there is a fetal anomaly (PDF)

What if I am under 16 years of age?

If you do not want your parent / legal guardian to know about the pregnancy and choices you are making, you may ask your health care provider to assist you with applying for an order at the Children’s Court of Western Australia. Legal assistance for this is free, but you will need a letter from your health care provider.

The legal service will help you with the application and putting your case to the Magistrate. The Magistrate will then make the decision about whether to involve your parent / guardian.

The Children’s Court Protection Service, Legal Aid can be contacted on (08) 9202 1688 or visit the website: www.youthlegalserviceinc.com.au (external site).

 

Abortions at WNHS

WNHS does not provide a routine abortion service, however with a referral WNHS can facilitate care for women in specific circumstances at KEMH. Your GP may also contact the family services coordinator, or gynaecology registrar on-call to discuss a referral. KEMH does facilitate care for women with specific medical and social needs.

When an abortion is performed at KEMH, support is available to assist you in making the best decision for your individual situation.

 

Family services coordinator

The family services coordinator will assist with arranging clinic appointments and access to services at KEMH, as well as assist those in financial distress and women considering an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. They are also available to give advice over the phone to GPs.

 

Social work

The Social Work Department is available to assist women, especially if personal or family safety is a concern. They are available to assist with the process of considering options when a pregnancy is over 20 weeks’ gestation and provide support and access to community services as needed.

 

Medical care

A team of health care professionals will care for you during your stay at KEMH for this procedure whether it be via medication or surgery. This includes specialist gynaecologists and obstetricians, doctors, nurses and midwives, and health care team members from services such as ultrasound.

Last Updated: 20/09/2022