Unplanned pregnancies are incredibly common, with up to half of all Australian pregnancies unplanned. By providing medical termination of pregnancy (MTOP) services, GPs and other specialists can provide women and others living in their community better access to abortion.
Since 2012, GPs and obstetricians and gynaecologists have been able to prescribe medication abortion pills to patients through their practice. In Australia, the medications are marketed as MS 2-Step, and is listed on the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes (PBS).
Medication abortions are available to end pregnancies less than nine weeks gestation (up to 63 days LMP). Medication abortions, or MS-2 Step, contain mifepristone – which stops the pregnancy from developing, and misoprostol – which causes cervical softening and uterine contractions, passing the products of conception.
Mifepristone has been used worldwide by millions of women since the 1980s. A large Australian observational study of over 11,000 women who had a medication abortion found that nearly 80% would use it again, and over 90% would recommend it to a friend. This reflects international trends, where studies in Scotland, the US, Sweden, Norway and Finland have found that the large majority of women who chose an abortion through medication found it acceptable.
View the Royal Women's Hospital Clinical Practice Guidelines: Abortion Medical Management to 9 weeks of Pregnancy
From 1 August 2023, restrictions to MS-2Step provision have been lifted.
The changes mean that:
Training for MS2-Step is still recommended, and is available free and online; find out more through the MS 2-Step website.
To provide MS2-Step, you may also require:
More detailed information is available on the MS Health website.