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HomeIs Abortion Legal in Australia?

Is Abortion Legal in Australia?

24 Apr, 2024 | Abortion, Blog, Equity and access

Can I have an abortion in Australia?

Yes, you can.


In Australia, abortion laws vary by state and territories, but it is generally legal, with some regulations and conditions. This blog explores the current legal status of abortion across different Australian states and territories, helping to demystify the laws for those seeking or considering abortion services.

    Overview of Abortion Laws in Australia

    All states and territories in Australia have decriminalised abortion, meaning that it is treated as a healthcare service rather than a criminal issue. However, the specifics such as gestational limits, conditions for access, and the requirement for counselling can differ significantly from one region to another.

    Gestational Limits

    Most states allow abortions to be approved by one doctor, up to 20-24 weeks. Beyond these limits, abortions may only be performed if approved by two doctors and under certain conditions, such as if the mother’s physical or mental health is at risk or if there are significant foetal abnormalities.

    Access and Conditions

    Access to abortion is influenced by local laws which might include mandatory counselling sessions, waiting periods, and in some cases, the approval of multiple doctors, especially for late-term abortions. Some states have implemented safe access zones around clinics to protect patients from harassment and to maintain privacy.

    Legal Variations by State

    Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

    Abortion is legal, and access is straightforward with no mandatory counselling unless requested by the patient.

    New South Wales (NSW)

    Legal up to 22 weeks, with conditions for later terminations that require medical assessments and counselling.

    Northern Territory (NT)

    Permitted up to 24 weeks, with conditions for later terminations.

    Queensland (QLD)

    Abortion is legal up to 22 weeks, with specific conditions for abortions beyond this gestational limit.

    South Australia (SA)

    Available up to 23 weeks, with conditions applying for later terminations.

    Tasmania (TAS)

    Legal up to 16 weeks with more conditions required for abortions after this period.

    Victoria (VIC)

    Abortion is legal up to 24 weeks, with certain conditions for later terminations.

    Western Australia (WA)

    Abortion is legal up to 23 weeks, with more conditions for later gestations.

    What Types of Abortion Are Available in Australia?

    In Australia, people have access to two primary types of abortion: medication abortion (including medical abortion in-clinic or via telehealth) and surgical abortion. The choice between these methods typically depends on the duration of the pregnancy. Medication abortions are an option up to 9 weeks, while surgical procedures are available for later gestations.

    Abortions can be performed in various healthcare settings including private clinics, community-based clinics, and some public hospitals. Additionally, telehealth services offer medication abortions, which can be accessed through general practices and specialised clinics like family planning services.

    It’s important to note that not all healthcare providers, especially those affiliated with religious organisations, are required to offer abortion services.

    For more detailed information on abortion services and to find out which options might be right for you, read this page.


    While abortion is broadly legal in Australia, navigating the specifics can be complex due to the differences in laws across states and territories. It is crucial for those seeking abortion services to be well-informed about the regulations applicable in their specific region. Get in touch with us if you would like to know more.

    For detailed information about the law and guidance on abortion services in Australia, please refer to this page.