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Termination of pregnancy

From 3 December 2018, the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018 ('the Act') will ensure terminations of pregnancy are treated as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. The Act:

  • supports a woman’s right to health, including reproductive health and autonomy
  • provides clarity and safety for health practitioners providing terminations of pregnancy
  • brings Queensland legislation in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

The purpose of the Act is to enable reasonable and safe access by women to terminations of pregnancy and to regulate the conduct of registered health practitioners in relation to terminations.

Commonly asked questions and answers

[+] I am pregnant and considering terminating my pregnancy

If you are considering terminating your pregnancy,  we encourage you to see a GP or ring a pregnancy counselling service as soon as possible. Health outcomes are improved when termination is provided in the early stages of pregnancy.

Accurate information about your options and supportive non-judgemental counselling can help you decide what’s best for you. You may find that a decision-making tool may help you.

Evidence shows that there are rarely lasting negative consequences for women who choose to terminate a pregnancy. Many women find that when they have made a considered and informed decision, and have been supported in that decision by their partner, family and/or health professional, then the outcome is positive. Some women report feeling mixed emotions, such as relief as well as a sense of sadness and loss after the procedure, which usually lessens over time with the right support.  Each woman will be the best judge of how she will cope and what support she needs to do so.

The following agencies will be able to provide support and help you with your choices and decisions.

Children by Choice 1800 017 676 (free call) offers free all-options pregnancy counselling, information and referrals in Queensland.

One Call 1300 003 707 (free call) provides free decision based pregnancy counselling, information and referrals service provided by Marie Stopes Australia. It is a national, independently accredited provider helping women to take full control of their reproductive health. Marie Stopes also provides termination services should you wish to be referred to their service.

The Women’s Centre (07) 4775 7555 offers women a safe space in which to access free services including counselling, information and referral especially in relation to homelessness, victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence.

[+] Is it legal to terminate my pregnancy?

Termination of pregnancy is a health issue. More information on Termination of pregnancy in Queensland information for women.

In 2018 the Queensland Parliament passed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018, which aligns the law with clinical practice and community support allowing health professionals to offer termination of pregnancy as part of comprehensive, high quality women’s health care.

This law reform has legalised the termination of pregnancy when it is performed by a medical practitioner with a woman’s consent. Terminating a pregnancy that has passed 22 weeks (gestation) is lawful when two doctors have considered all the circumstances and determined that termination of pregnancy is appropriate.

More information on key facts about the Termination of Pregnancy Act 2018

[+] Tell me about the termination of pregnancy procedure

Termination of pregnancy is one of the safest procedures available in the health system when it is performed by qualified health professionals, with appropriate equipment and medical technique.

Most terminations of pregnancy are performed between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy (counted from the last menstrual period or measured by ultrasound). Pregnancy termination may be achieved with medication or by surgery.

At your clinic consultation, your doctor and nurse  will complete an assessment that takes into account your medical history and other relevant factors. They will discuss with you the most appropriate method for termination of pregnancy, explain the procedure and follow up care, and obtain your consent to the procedure. They will also discuss with you your contraception options for the future.

A medical termination of pregnancy uses medication given in doses over two or more days that induce miscarriage-like symptoms. These medications must be taken within the first 63 days of the pregnancy.

A consultation, blood test and ultrasound are completed before the medication is prescribed. These take time to arrange.  It is therefore necessary to see your health practitioner as early as possible but no later than between 7-8 weeks if you wish to choose this option.

Depending upon where you live, terminating your pregnancy with prescribed medication may also be available through consultation with a qualified health practitioner via a telephone consultation. This is called telehealth medical termination.

If you need more time do not panic…There is a late option of surgical termination of pregnancy.

Read more information about the termination of pregnancy procedure using medication.

A surgical termination of pregnancy is usually performed under sedation as a day procedure by an operation.

A surgical termination of pregnancy may be completed on request up until 22 weeks (154 days). After that time, the medical opinion of two doctors is needed for this procedure to be lawfully performed.

Read more information about the termination of pregnancy using a surgical procedure.

[+] Where can I go to get a termination of pregnancy in the Townsville region?

Requests for Termination of pregnancy are mostly performed in the private sector.

Townsville has several clinics/GPs who are qualified to perform a termination of pregnancy using medication in early pregnancy. This includes one GP who bulk bills.

Several agencies provide termination of pregnancy using medication via telehealth (phone consultation) including The Tabbot Foundation 1800180 880 (free call) and Marie Stopes Australia 1300 003 707 (free call).

Marie Stopes Australia (Townsville) provides surgical termination of pregnancy services.

The Townsville Hospital provides a maternal foetal medicine service for pregnant women with complex health care needs. You will need to see your GP who will be able to refer you to this specialist service if you meet the medical criteria.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service also has arrangements in place with Marie Stopes Australia to provide some assistance for a limited number of appointments for women requesting a termination of pregnancy. These appointments will be prioritised for disadvantaged women, typically holding a Health Care Card, and have no ability to otherwise have a termination in the private sector.

Your health practitioner or the following agencies will be able to help you understand your choices and options. If your health practitioner has a conscientious objection to termination of pregnancy, they are required to let you know and refer you to a health practitioner or service who they believe will be able to assist you.

Children by Choice 1800 017 676 (free call) offers free all-options pregnancy counselling, information and referrals in Queensland. They will be able to explain all the choices available to you.

One Call 1300 003 707 (free call) provides free decision based pregnancy counselling, information and referrals service. It is provided by Marie Stopes Australia, a national, independently accredited provider helping women to take full control of their reproductive health. Marie Stopes Australia also provides surgical, medical and telehealth service options for termination of pregnancy.

The Women’s Centre (07) 4775 7555 offers women a safe space in which to access free services including counselling, information and referral especially in relation to homelessness, victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence.

13HEALTH provides health information, referral to other health care providers and services to the public. Call 13 HEALTH (13 432584) to speak with a registered nurse. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

[+] How much will it cost to have a termination of pregnancy?

If you are considering terminating your pregnancy, we encourage you to see a GP or ring a pregnancy counselling service as soon as possible.

Medical termination of pregnancy is available to nine weeks gestation. After this point, surgical termination of pregnancy is your only option. Costs for surgical termination of pregnancy start to rise at most clinics once the pregnancy reaches 11 or 12 weeks gestation, with steep increases from 14 weeks onwards. For this reason, it’s important to recognise that termination of pregnancy is a time-sensitive decision.

The fee charged by the various providers may change at any time. For exact prices contact the providers or Children by Choice 1800 017 676 (free call).

[+] What assistance is available to help me with the financial burden of accessing a termination of pregnancy service?

Each person’s situation is unique. There are many options available that may be of benefit to you with your own individual circumstances. 

Townsville Hospital and Health Service may be able to assist with travel to access termination of pregnancy services. Ordinarily, assistance with the cost of travel and accommodation may be provided if the nearest specialist medical service is more than 50km from the nearest facility that is able to provide the required service. However, depending on the woman’s circumstances, exceptions to the nearest specialist service may be considered on a case by case basis.

You may also qualify for a no interest loan with Children by Choice 1800 017 676 (free call) which may help in affording a procedure. 

More information about your possible choices may be found here by contacting the following agencies. These agencies will be able to fully discuss your individual circumstances and provide the necessary support and information to help you make your decisions.

Children by Choice 1800 017 676 (free call) offers free all-options pregnancy counselling, information and referrals in Queensland.

One Call 1300 003 707 (free call) provides free decision based pregnancy counselling, information and referrals service provided by Marie Stopes Australia

The Women’s Centre (07) 4775 7555 offers women a safe space in which to access free services including counselling, information and referral especially in relation to homelessness, victims of sexual crimes and domestic violence.

Disclaimer: The inclusion of links to websites or health providers is not a recommendation or endorsement of any health provider, health professional, or their services. Use of services featured in these websites is undertaken at the user’s own risk.

Last updated: 10 December 2018