Many women with an unplanned pregnancy have made a clear and considered decision about whether or not to continue their pregnancy and do not require any decision making counselling or additional support.
However, some women will need more information and support before they feel confident they have made the decision that is right for them. This may include counselling, information about alternatives (such as adoption and foster care), or information about supports that might be available if she wishes to continue with the pregnancy.
Women deciding whether to have an abortion consider many of the same factors as women contemplating motherhood, including:
It may take some time between when you find out you are pregnant and when you can have an abortion. This can be a frustrating and difficult time. Below are some things you can consider and prepare for to make sure things go as quickly and smoothly as possible.
First, you will need to confirm you are pregnant. Taking a pregnancy test is a good first step. Pregnancy can be confirmed by a doctor using a blood test or ultrasound.
There may also be other steps involved before you can have an abortion, such as getting a referral from a General Practitioner for an ultrasound to confirm how many weeks pregnant you are. All of these steps can take time so it's important to take action as soon as you can.
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).
Before having an abortion, women should be given information about the procedure itself, anaesthesia options for surgical termination, pre and post-abortion care and any specific conditions associated with accessing the different types of abortion. Part of the decision-making process includes being fully informed. Make sure whichever health service you book in with has provided you with all the information you require to feel comfortable and safe.
In 2016, legislation establishing safe access zones around abortion providers 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.