In Victoria, abortion is available in a range of public and private settings. It is a safe, common and legal reproductive health choice.
occur for many reasons – for instance, when contraception fails or is not available, or a woman does not consent to having sex. The decision to have an abortion is for each individual woman to make based on her unique circumstances.
What is abortion?
Most surgical abortions are performed in the first trimester, between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy, but they can be performed later as well. A surgical abortion is usually performed by a trained doctor as a day procedure by a method called suction aspiration or suction curettage. Women having this procedure are usually under a general or local anaesthetic.
Medical abortion uses medication prescribed by an authorised doctor given in doses over 2 or more days to end a pregnancy. This method of abortion can be performed for women whose pregnancy is up to 9 weeks gestation.
Myth: Abortion causes long-term health problems (such as infertility)
Whether you have a surgical or medical abortion, most women will ovulate again very soon after the abortion. This can happen even before your period returns. Therefore, it’s important to start using contraception immediately if you wish to prevent any unwanted pregnancies.
Myth: Abortion causes breast cancer
Myth: Abortion causes long-term psychological or emotional problems or 'post abortion syndrome'
Fact: There is no evidence to support the existence of ‘post abortion syndrome’.
Every woman will have her own unique experience, and you can access supports to help with decision-making, before and/or after an abortion if you choose to. Evidence suggests that women who have received support, and feel they have made a free and informed decision that is right for them, will not experience emotional or psychological trauma. A common feeling that women will have after an abortion is relief.
If the decision has been difficult, women may feel sadness or have other negative feelings, especially in the short term.
Myth: Medical abortion drugs make the pregnancy 'go away' or 'get absorbed back into your body'
Fact: Medical abortion is intended to result in the pregnancy being expelled from your body. This takes the form of bleeding and cramps that may be heavier and more painful than a normal period. This process may feel similar to a .
Myth: You can only have a medical abortion in a hospital
Fact: The initial consultation for a can take place in a range of settings with a doctor authorised to prescribe the medications, such as your GP or a local sexual and reproductive health service. The tablets do not need to be taken in a hospital and can be taken at home safely.
Myth: Medical abortion is very painful
Fact: It is normal and expected to experience bleeding and pelvic cramping, which may become strong, particularly in the first 24 hours after the misoprostol tablets. Pain relief tablets are advised and provided.
Women often report that if they are well informed about what to expect, have made an informed choice about which method to use, and understand what is happening to their body and the different stages of the process, then they are more prepared and are better able to cope with the process of medical abortion.