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. Women may choose to end their pregnancy for a wide range of reasons including their age and stage of life, health condition, lack of financial support or simply not wishing to be a parent.
Abortion can legally be accessed up to the 24th week of pregnancy (and in certain circumstances beyond this). 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.
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.
Find out more information about abortion.
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).
In Victoria, you have the right to make a complaint about a public or private health professional, service or provider. Some reasons you (or someone for you) might make a complaint include:
- failure to provide satisfactory care
- failure to provide enough information or to deny patient choice
- lack of respect, dignity or privacy
- negligence or unprofessionalism.
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.
1800 My Options is a Victorian service. The information on this website relates to Victorian state laws and Victorian services. Abortion laws vary between Australian states and territories. If you are looking for information about abortion laws and abortion services in another Australian state or territory, please contact your local Family Planning Association.
You can also find out more information about abortion law in Australia at Reproductive Choice Australia.