- Is it legal for me to have an abortion?
Abortion is now legal in ALL states in Australia, (though it took a while to get there!). There are some minor differences in health legislation interstate. Abortion was decriminalised in NSW in October 2019. There are certain requirements which need to be met in order to legally undertake an abortion, including that the patient needs to be counselled regarding her options, care should be provided by properly trained and registered doctors, and the patient signs an informed consent.
It is very important that women are able to terminate a pregnancy, for their own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing,though it can be difficult to access abortion care in the public hospital system. Faith-based hospitals, notably the Catholic run hospitals, do not even provide contraception, let alone abortion care. Sadly our health system and governments in Australia are still dominated by religious, anti-choice politicians who still try to restrict what a woman chooses to do with her own body. Public hospitals should provide women with abortion care, but sadly this can still be very difficult access, depending on where you live.
At the Sydney abortion clinic we offer surgical and medical termination of pregnancy, assisted by our specially trained doctors and expert nurses. We are not expensive, though there will be some out of pocket fees.
If your pregnancy is 9 weeks or less, you may be able to choose a medical or surgical termination.
If your pregnancy is more than 9 weeks, gestation, you should have a surgical termination.
If you are between 12 and 16 weeks gestation, you will need to be in the clinic 3 hours prior to your procedure for pre medication. We do not offer pregnancy termination over 16-17 weeks ( limit depends on whether you have had a previous vaginal delivery)
- Will having an abortion affect my ability to have children later?
Termination of pregnancy is a very safe procedure, provided it is delivered by an experienced team of clinicians in appropriate facilities. It is unusual to have problems after a termination of pregnancy. However, it is a medical procedure and there are always small risks.
Every effort is made to reduce risk of complications. Our expert team will explain the informed consent to you when you attend the clinic.
If you are terminating a pregnancy, you can clearly conceive without too much difficulty, and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to conceive again in the future, when you are ready to have a child.
Ideally, pregnancy should be planned to ensure you are in the best of health and prepared in every way to have a child.
- When can I go back to work or resume sport?
For a surgical termination, you should have a quiet day when you get home after having had the procedure.
We recommend that you don’t just lie around, but go for a walk and resume normal physical activity as soon as you feel comfortable. Being physically active will assist with physical and mental recovery.
Don’t drive or operate machinery within 24 hrs of having an anaesthetic, but otherwise you can go back to work or resume fitness/sports after 24 hrs.
After a medical termination, recovery can be a bit slower. You should not plan to work, or do anything other than rest at home on day 3 of the procedure (after you take the 4 misoprostol tablets).
Pain can be more on day 3, and you will need to be in a safe supported environment until it passes. Bleeding can continue for 2 weeks or more.
Work and normal physical activity can be resumed after day 4, when you are feeling well enough.
After a surgical or a medical termination, contraceptive pills can be started straight away. This means that if you are taking the pill for contraception, they will be working by the time you want to start having sex again.
Some women prefer to have a normal period before they start contraception, and this is fine, but be aware that you could fall pregnant again immediately if you don’t use protection, ie condoms.
- How much will it cost?
The cost of a surgical termination procedure is made up of different components including the procedure itself, anaesthetic and theatre fees, drugs and equipment used. The total cost on the day will depend on your gestation and whether you decide to have contraception inserted at the time ( recommended) .
At Sydney Abortion Clinic you will need to pay for the procedure up front. We bill Medicare on your behalf, though there will be a gap fee payable in addition to the contribution made by Medicare. For women who do not hold a valid Medicare card, they pay the full cost upfront and then claim back from your travel insurance.
If you have an IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) fitted at the time of the procedure or an implant provided, or a Depo injection for contraception, the fees will be slightly higher. However Long Acting Reversible Contraception is very cost effective over the period of its use.
For women who have a Health Care Card, the fees will be lower.
The total fee for your procedure will be discussed with you at the time of booking, so you know what you are up for in terms of costs.
- What can I expect immediately after having an abortion?
Your experience will differ depending on whether you have a surgical or a medical termination.
After a surgical termination, you can expect some mild cramping for a few hours which should settle with standard pain killers such as ibuprofen.
The bleeding might be light and continuous, or intermittent. Or you may not have any bleeding at all.
If you are unsure whether what you are experiencing is normal, you can always ring us and talk with one of the nurses or doctors.
After a medical termination, you might continue to bleed for up to 3 weeks, but not more than a normal period.
We will follow you up by telephone to see how you are going, and want to see you at 2 weeks to ensure you are making complete recovery. However, if you prefer to have remote follow up by phone call or telehealth, this can be arranged.
After both surgical and medical termination, it can take several weeks for the urine pregnancy test to become negative again, as it takes a while for the pregnancy hormones to drop back to normal. You might feel sadness, or a sense of loss. It is important to keep positive and busy and physically active. Support from a loved one or close friend is important.
- Do you screen for STI's?
We routinely offer screening for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea to all our clients as per the NSW Health Guidelines on STI testing.
This follows best practice, as Chlamydia infection can often present no symptoms. It is estimated that 20% of Australian women are infected with Chlamydia.
If you don’t have a Medicare card, we will still offer the testing, but as this may incur additional costs (about $25 for a Chlamydia screening test) , it will be your choice as to whether you take the test.
We will also counsel you about full screening for sexually transmitted infection, including blood borne viruses. You should talk to one of our doctors about what testing is appropriate for you.
- Can you terminate a pregnancy after 16 weeks gestation?
It is possible to terminate a pregnancy after 16 weeks but we do not offer this service at the Sydney Abortion Clinic.
If your pregnancy is greater than 16 weeks (and not had a vaginal delivery), or if you are greater than 17 weeks ( with previous vaginal delivery) you will need to find another solution. There may be more significant pain and bleeding post-operatively after a mid trimester termination.
- Do I need a referral to access abortion services at Sydney Abortion Clinic?
No you don’t. Many of our clients refer themselves directly to us. No one else needs to know that you are seeking an abortion, and we will not tell anyone that you have been to see us, unless you request us to do so.
However, many GPs do refer to us, as they trust our service and know that we have the experience and the skills to offer the best care to women seeking assistance with unplanned pregnancy.
We do welcome referrals from other professionals, but you can see us without a referral. Just ring us and make an appointment.
- How soon after a termination can I start contraception?
We recommend that you use contraception at all times after a pregnancy termination to prevent repeat unplanned pregnancy.
There are many different types of contraception and some can be started at the same time as having a termination eg. IUD or Implanon insertion or Depo injection.
Your operating doctor will advise you whether it is possible to have a LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraceptive) given to you at the time of termination of pregnancy.
Other contraception, such as pills, can be started in the days following a termination.
If you are not in a regular relationship, it is important to protect yourself against infection by using condoms. Condoms can be used in addition to other types of contraception.
We will counsel you regarding what is the best choice of contraception for you when you attend the Sydney Abortion Clinic.
- How is pregnancy termination performed?
Termination of pregnancy can be undertaken surgically or medically.
Surgical termination requires a brief anaesthetic (sedation) and usually is a single straightforward procedure to definitively remove the pregnancy. This is done using suction curettage to gently remove all contents of the uterus.
Medical termination means that you take a combination of tablets and vaginal pessaries, allowing you to miscarry in your own home, which is usually over a period of approx 72 hours, though the bleeding may go on for longer.
We provide both medical and surgical termination of pregnancy at Sydney Abortion Clinic.
Your GP can refer you to the social worker at your local public hospital. It is NSW Health policy to support women seeking abortion services and you have a right to get assistance if you do not feel able to continue with a pregnancy. .