Let's talk about Abortion ~ FAQ's
Is it legal for me to have an abortion?
The specific legal requirements for abortion provision in Australia depends on which state or territory you live in, but what each state has in common is that a pregnant woman can access a pregnancy termination after consulting with a doctor.
In NSW abortion law reform has recently occurred ( finally!) to make abortion legal and accessible up to 22 weeks. For abortions after 22 weeks, they need to be done in hospital under the care of an obstetrician.
NSW was the last state to update there antiquated, anti choice laws but we have now got this across the line.
In Victoria, a pregnant woman may legally request an abortion up to the 24th week of pregnancy after consulting with a doctor, or after this time if two doctors agree that it is necessary.
In South Australia, a pregnant woman from that state may access an abortion after up to 28 weeks of pregnancy, provided that two doctors agree and that the procedure is performed in a hospital.
In Tasmania, a pregnant woman can seek an abortion up to 16 weeks of pregnancy, or later if agreed to by two doctors.
In the ACT, abortions are legal with no time limit.
In Northern Territory, abortions are legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy, though 2 doctors need to agree after 14 weeks.
In Western Australia abortion is available up to 20 weeks, though if a woman is under 16 yrs, parents must be notified.
NSW, ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland and Northern Territory have also legislated “safe spaces” around abortion clinics to prevent protestors and negative campaigners from harrassing women.
How much does an abortion cost?
The cost of a pregnancy termination depends on whether it is medical or surgical and your gestation (over 12 weeks becomes more expensive). However, out of pocket expense for a surgical termination of pregnancy under 12 weeks is approximately $470 if you hold a current Medicare card. Please contact us online or on (02) 9411 3411 to discuss your particular circumstances. We may be slightly more expensive than other providers because we are accredited to the National Standards for Safety and Quality in Healthcare and provide an excellent patient-centred service.
The fee will be slightly higher on the day if you have a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) e.g. an IUD (Intrauterine Device) fitted during the procedure.
You will need to pay upfront when you attend Clinic 66 for all surgical procedures, and we can usually process any rebate from Medicare on the day, enabling costs to be kept down.
We will discuss all factors with you at the time of your booking. You will always know the costs involved before proceeding.
Women who don’t have Medicare cards will need to pay for the portion normally funded by Medicare up front. Foreign nationals will need to hold health travel insurance and it is likely that your policy will cover your costs if you decide to have a procedure with us.
Do I need a referral for an abortion at Clinic 66?
No, you do not need a referral. You can simply call or visit us to make an appointment.
Many GPs do refer patients to us for pregnancy terminations, as they trust our experience in offering the best care to women seeking help with unplanned pregnancies. These referrals are always welcome but are not required.
If your pregnancy is over 12 weeks gestation, we like to have a formal ultrasound scan for dating purposes. We can arrange this ultrasound scan for you if necessary.
How is a termination of pregnancy (abortion) performed?
Pregnancy terminations may be either surgical or medical, and we provide both at Clinic 66.
Surgical termination involves a light anaesthetic and uses suction curettage to gently remove the contents of the uterus. At Clinic 66, surgical terminations are available up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Medical terminations essentially induce a miscarriage through the use of two rounds of medication. Medical terminations may be performed up to 9 weeks of pregnancy ( 63 days).
If you would like to know more, we have a detailed article on what is involved in each procedure.
We have also provided an easy summary of the differences between surgical and medical termination.
Can you terminate a pregnancy after 20 weeks?
At Clinic 66, we offer pregnancy terminations up to 20 weeks of gestation. For gestations over that, we recommend you get your GP to refer you to an obstetrician who can look after you in hospital.
For later gestations of 16 weeks and above, a different procedure is required that is carried out over two days. Mid-trimester terminations over 16 weeks require procedures when two brief anaesthetics on two consecutive days are delivered. Mid-trimester terminations may involve more significant pain and post-operative bleeding. They are also more expensive.
Do I need contraception after an abortion?
Yes, you should use contraception at all times after a pregnancy termination (including immediately after) to prevent another unplanned pregnancy.
Your operating doctor will discuss with you whether it is possible to have a LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive) inserted during your termination procedure. This may be an IUD (intrauterine device) or implant.
If this is not your preferred option, we can discuss other options with you, including pills and condom use, which can and should be started in the days following your termination.
Will I still be able to have children later?
Yes, you should still be able to conceive later in life after you have terminated a pregnancy.
In fact, if you have had an unplanned pregnancy, you can clearly conceive without too much difficulty, so when you are ready to start planning a pregnancy you should have no trouble in the future.
Termination of pregnancy is a medical procedure, which means there is always an element of risk. However, our highly experienced team of clinicians make every effort to explain these risks and reduce the risk of any complications.
What can I expect afterwards?
It depends on whether you have had a surgical or medical termination.
After a surgical termination, you might have some mild cramping, which can be settled with standard painkillers, and there may be some bleeding. On the day of the procedure, you should have a quiet day when you get home but resume normal physical activity as soon as you feel ready. You can resume work and other activities after 24 hours.
Recovery after a medical termination can be slower. You should not plan to do anything on the third day of the procedure, and just plan to rest in a safe and supported environment. You can resume work and other activity after day 4, but bleeding may continue for two weeks or more.
For more information on abortion after-care and recovery, see our full article.
Do you screen for sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
Yes, we offer screening for chlamydia and gonorrhoea to all patients undergoing pregnancy termination. We can also screen for other types of STI such as HIV or syphilis.
Our doctors will talk with you about whether testing is appropriate for you. It will be your choice as to whether or not you take the test.
Are abortions safe?
Yes, surgical and medical abortions are safe procedures provided that they are performed in appropriate facilities by an experienced team of clinicians.
The operating doctors at Clinic 66 use the most up-to-date surgical techniques for all termination procedures. There will always be at least two doctors with you during a surgical termination—one for the procedure and one to care for you under sedation. We undertake an ultrasound before and after the procedure. For a medical termination, there will be one doctor to assess you and prescribe the medication. We will follow you up until it is completely over.
Is there pain?
There can be discomfort and pain immediately following a surgical pregnancy termination, but this will be managed in-house by us. We have two doctors who are dedicated to ensuring your smooth and complete recovery. We will not allow you to go home if you are in significant pain. After a surgical termination of pregnancy, most women have little or no discomfort at all.
Pain associated with abortion (pregnancy termination) is more common following a medical abortion (using tablets). The most painful aspect of a medical abortion occurs after taking the second dose of tablets and can be intense for about 6 hours. This is because the second dose of tablets causes the uterus to contract to expel the contents and can feel like a bad period pain.
For this reason, we can prescribe you stronger painkillers to take if necessary whilst undergoing a medical abortion. After the painful part of the medical abortion, you may continue to bleed slightly but there should not be too much pain.
If you have any concerns at all after your abortion (pregnancy termination), please ring Clinic 66. You can speak to a nurse during opening hours or call our designated after-hours number to speak with one of our in-house doctors directly.