Abortion in Victoria

What is abortion?

An abortion is the deliberate medical process of ending a pregnancy. An abortion is also known as a 'termination' or 'termination of pregnancy'. Abortion is a legal and common procedure in Victoria and women may choose to end their pregnancy for a wide range of reasons including their stage of life, health condition, lack of financial support or simply not wishing to be a parent.

There are two types of abortion procedures – surgical abortions and medical abortions.

Most surgical abortions are performed between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy, but they can be performed later as well. A surgical abortion is usually performed as a day procedure by a method called suction aspiration. Women having this procedure are usually under a general or local anaesthetic.

Medical abortion uses prescription medication given in doses over two or more days to end a pregnancy. This method of abortion can be performed for women whose pregnancy is up to nine weeks gestation.

For some women the decision to end a pregnancy is straight forward, for others it can be more complicated. Regardless of whether a woman decides to continue or end her pregnancy, she will need access to timely, sensitive and non-judgmental support and services.

Your rights in Victoria

Abortion can legally be accessed up to the 24th week of pregnancy (and in certain circumstances beyond this). However, contacting services earlier can minimise procedure costs and maximise options. The Abortion Law Reform Act 2008 decriminalised abortion and set out guidelines for when abortion can take place.

In Victoria, where abortion is available in a range of public and private settings, it is a safe, common and legal reproductive health choice.

Unplanned pregnancies occur for many reasons – for instance when contraception fails, is not available, or a woman does not consent to having sex. The decision to have an abortion is for each individual woman to make based on her unique circumstances.

Two types of abortion procedures are legal in Victoria, surgical and medical. Find out more about abortion procedures here.

Abortion after 24 weeks is legal, but is not common. Two doctors must agree the termination is appropriate, considering the woman's relevant medical circumstances, and her current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances.

Under Victorian law, a health practitioner who has a conscientious objection to providing abortion information must refer any woman seeking information about abortion services to another doctor who doesn't object. If you feel your doctor has not done this you can make a complaint via the Health Complaints Commissioner or Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

For further information on Abortion Laws click here.

If you still require a doctor to assist you, go to search providers here.

Safe access zones

In 2016, the Public Health and Wellbeing Amendment (Safe Access Zones) Act 2015 was introduced to ensure that women and staff entering or leaving premises providing abortions, can do so safely and privately, without fear or harassment. Find out more about safe access legislation.

Not in Victoria?

For more information, see abortion rates and abortion law in Australia. Laws vary between Australian states and territories.