Law On Abortion In NSW

The law in NSW

  • In Australia, abortion is legal in all states and territories under certain circumstances and when it is done by a registered doctor.
  • Each state and territory has different laws.
  • In NSW abortion was removed from the Crimes Act of 1900 in October 2019 with the passage of the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019 In NSW
    • Women and pregnant people are no longer at risk of prosecution for procuring their own abortion and doctors are able to perform an abortion after gaining informed consent up to 22 weeks of pregnancy.
    • After 22 weeks of pregnancy, abortions must occur in a hospital or approved health facility by a specialist medical practitioner who has consulted with another practitioner.
    • Medical practitioners who have a conscientious objection to abortion must provide information about how to contact or locate a medical practitioner who is reasonably believed not to have a conscientious objection or transfer care to another registered health practitioner or to a health service provider at which the termination can be performed.


  • There are two types of abortion available in Australia: medical and surgical.
    • A medical abortion is performed up to 9 weeks from the first day of a woman's last period.
    • A surgical abortion is usually carried out between 7-12 weeks from the first day of a woman's last period.
  • Abortions in NSW must be carried out by a registered doctor.
  • Most abortions in NSW are performed under 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • General practitioners can provide medical abortion after completing a training program.
  • You do not need a referral from a doctor to go to a clinic - you can call the clinic directly for an appointment.
  • In NSW, services for abortion are generally available up to 20 weeks of pregnancy but services for later abortions are more limited.
  • Later abortions are sometimes performed for serious medical reasons including fetal abnormalities.

Informed consent

  • Before you decide on an abortion (or any medical procedure), you need information about:
    • the procedure
    • the possible risks and complications

People under 16 years

  • If you are under 16 years old your doctor will ask you questions to find out if you understand the procedure and what it will mean to you - this is called informed consent.
  • If your doctor judges you to be mature enough to understand what making the decision means, you can consent to an abortion on your own - it is usually a good idea to have a parent or trusted adult involved to support you.

People with intellectual disability

  • A person with intellectual disability has the same rights as any other person if they are able to give informed consent.
  • If they are not able to give informed consent and the doctor believes it is in their best interests to have an abortion then an application needs to be made to the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Your rights

  • Only you (if you are able to give informed consent), with your doctor, have the right to decide on whether the best option is to have an abortion.

Privacy & confidentiality

  • All healthcare professionals have a responsibility to maintain your privacy unless they feel you are at risk of significant harm to yourself or others.

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