After Queensland legalised abortion in late 2018, NSW now has the dubious distinction of being the only Australian state or territory NOT to have legalised abortion.
In WA, abortion is legal up to 20 weeks of pregnancy when performed by a medical practitioner. For dependent minors, or women under 16 years of age, parental notification is required or an application can be made to the Children’s Court for an order that the custodial parent NOT be consulted. Over 20 weeks of pregnancy, two medical practitioners from a panel of 6 appointed by the Minister, have to agree that the pregnant woman has a severe medical condition for an abortion to be justified. These abortions must be performed at a facility approved by the Minister. Or the pregnant woman can go to Victoria where termination is available up to 24 weeks pregnancy.
The Acts Amendment (Abortion) Act 1998, Section 334, also requires that the woman has given informed consent. Informed consent is defined in the legislation as a medical practitioner, other than the one performing or assisting with the abortion, advising the woman about the medical risks of continuing or terminating the pregnancy, advising the woman of the availability of government funded psychological counselling before she makes a decision, and advising the woman of the availability of psychological counselling at any time in the future. In practice, what this means is that two different doctors must be involved in the termination — a referring doctor and the termination provider.
Where you can get a termination
There are two major providers of pregnancy termination in WA — Nanyara and Marie Stopes Australia. Both services provide surgical and medical terminations, although medical terminations are only available up to 9 weeks pregnancy.
Here at Fremantle Women’s Health Centre, we provide medical terminations up to 7 weeks pregnancy. Women’s Health and Family Services (Northbridge) also provide medical terminations up to 7 weeks pregnancy.
Sexual Health Quarters (SHQ) provide referrals and free counselling for unplanned pregnancy which includes post-abortion counselling. Counselling for unplanned pregnancy is given priority. It is standard policy that if an appointment is not available when you call, a staff member will be in contact within 24 hours to arrange an appointment for you within one week.
Nanyara: 9277 6070
Marie Stopes: 1800 003 707
SHQ: 9227 6177
Author: Jessie Marcotte