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Termination of pregnancy (abortion)

Termination, also known as abortion, is the end of a pregnancy by a procedure that empties the contents of the uterus (womb).

Around one in three or four Australian women or people assigned female at birth will have an abortion in their lifetime. Research shows that most Australians support safe and legal abortion.

There are two ways an abortion can be provided: medication and surgery.

Medication termination

Medication termination is available up to 9 weeks of pregnancy. Family Planning Tasmania provides medication abortions.

Surgical termination

Surgical termination is provided up to 12-14 weeks of pregnancy in Tasmania. Family Planning Tasmania doesn’t provide surgical abortions, but we can refer you to a provider that does.

If you have decided to have a termination (abortion), please contact Family Planning Tasmania or your GP or other health professional as soon as possible.

If you are unsure about your decision, contact us to request a non-judgmental and confidential pregnancy counselling appointment (30 minutes with either a doctor or nurse).

What if my regular doctor or health professional won’t talk to me about abortion?

If your doctor or health professional will not talk to you or help you, he or she must refer you to another doctor or health professional who will help you. This is the law. If you urgently need an abortion for medication reasons, you should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible.

When can I legally get an abortion in Tasmania?

In Australia, abortion legislation varies from state to state. In Tasmania, abortion is legal up to the 16th week of pregnancy, and may also be available beyond that after assessment by two doctors. Here is a link to the legislation in full.

Can I make the decision to have an abortion myself?

If you are over 18 years old, you can make the decision to have an abortion yourself unless:

  • You are under the care of an adult guardian because of a disability, or
  • You can’t fully understand the implications of your decision.

If you are between 16-18 years old and your doctor considers you are able to make your own decisions and that you fully understand the implications of your decision, then you can make the decision to have an abortion yourself.

This means you don’t need the agreement of your partner, the person who you had sex with, or any other member of your family, including your parents.

If you are under 16 years old, your doctor will need to consider your maturity and your ability to make important decisions and fully understand the implications of your decision.

If you are considered to be mature enough and to have the ability to make an important decision about your medication treatment, then you will be able to make the decision to have a termination on your own.

For some people under the age of 16, the doctor might decide that a person with parental authority needs to help you or to make the decision to have an abortion with you.

Can someone come with me to my appointments?

Lots of people like to have someone for support. If an adult is coming with you, they might need to show the doctor that they are supportive, will keep your information confidential, and are taking on board your wishes.

If an adult is going to be providing consent, they must be someone who has parental authority for you and be able to provide evidence of this.

An adult who does not have parental responsibility for you cannot give consent to medication treatment for you. If your doctor considers that you can make decisions for yourself, an adult cannot force your doctor to give you a medication treatment or procedure that you do not want.

How do I give consent (agree) to an abortion?

Your doctor will ask you a series of questions to check that you understand what an abortion is, that you are making the decision that is right for you, and that you have made the decision yourself.

Will my information be confidential?

Family Planning Tasmania does not share information with My Health Record, the online system for medical professionals to share health information in Australia. In addition, please let your doctor know if you don’t want anyone outside your medical team to know about your pregnancy or the termination of your pregnancy.

Useful links

Video: What is a Medication Termination (Medical Abortion)?

Find out more about the process in this video produced by Family Planning Victoria. They have a range of helpful and informative videos, which you can view on YouTube here.

This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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