Facts you should know regarding abortions

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The Law

The laws regarding abortion differ from state to state. All Australian states and territories have legislation restricting abortion. The legislation derives from the English Offences Against the Person Act of 1861. Each state has a clause specifying when abortion is lawful. The law in Queensland is similiar to the law in New South Wales (Levine ruling 1971) and Victoria. In these three states abortion is legal to preserve the mothers physical or mental health and on reasonable grounds – economic, social or medical. In Victoria the law follows the (Menhennit Ruling 1969). In South Australia with two doctors opinions, two months residency and hospitalisation abortions can be done on most grounds affecting women (Reformed laws 1969 ) In the Northern Territory the law is similiar to South Australia. In Western Australia and the ACT recent legislation has made abortion available almost on request. In Tasmania the law allows for abortion to preserve the women’s physical or mental health.

Safety

Legal abortion is a safe procedure. It is now one of the safest surgical procedures available. Legal abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy is considerably safer than bearing a child. It is nine times safer for a teenager in terms of life or death and 39 times safer for a woman aged 40 to 44, than carrying the pregnancy to childbirth. First trimester terminations are three times safer in terms of deaths than tonsillectomies and 200 times safer than appendicectomies. Abortion has not always been so safe. Before abortion was legalised many women died or had serious medical problems after attempting to induce abortions on themselves or going to untrained practitioners who performed abortions in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Since legal abortion, women have benefited from significant advances in medical technology and greater access to high quality abortion services. Women rarely die from legal abortions. According to the most recent statistics available in Australia there have only been 3 abortion related deaths in the last 15 years. That is 3 in over 1.2 million patients. Abortion is a simple procedure. The abortion is done by inserting an instrument called a speculum into the vagina so that the doctor can see the cervix. The doctor will then widen the cervical opening by using a series of sterile metal dilators, increasing the size until the cervical opening is 6 -9 mm. After the cervix is dilated, a sterile tube that is attached to a vacuum aspirator is inserted into the uterus. The foetal tissue and some of the lining of the uterus is removed. The whole procedure is simple and rapid taking 3 to 10 minutes.

Religion

Many women have had abortions in Australia and many men and women despite their religious beliefs, support a woman’s right to choose.

Can I become pregnant again?

YES. With the advent of the use of safer methods, staff training, modern technology and better overall care and facilities, the risks of abortion have lessened enormously. The risk of subsequent fertility problems is extremely low. Prior to 2002 all patients were prescribed post operative antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. Over the last few years the use of prophylactic antibiotics has gone out of favour throughout the world and therefore they have been discontinued at Planned Parenthood. You are advised to have a check up with either your local Doctor or to return to the clinic if you have concerns about infection. We strongly emphasise the use of contraception at all of our clinics and our doctors are happy to advise you on what is best suited to your needs. We believe that all women have the right to safe, legal supportive abortion care. We are committed to providing the best possible services for women.