NSW Abortion Laws

Abortion laws in NSW

Like all other Australian States and territories, abortion is legal in new south Wales based on certain circumstances, and it must be performed by a registered and licensed doctor. With the enactment of the Abortion Law Reform Act 2019, abortion on NSW is no longer under the Crimes Act of 1900

The implications of this are pregnant people are no longer liable for prosecution if they procure their own abortion. Doctors, too, can now perform an abortion for a pregnancy at a maximum of 22 weeks as long as there is informed consent.

If a medical practitioner should object to abortion for conscientious reasons, they must give the pregnant person information on how to locate or contact another practitioner who doesn’t have much objection. Or they should transfer the person to another health service provider or registered health practitioner who can perform the termination.

Availability

  • Only a registered doctor can perform an abortion in NSW.
  • The below 12 Weeks abortions are the most common in NSW.
  • General practitioners are capable of providing medical abortion once they complete a training program.
  • A pregnant person can go to any hospital or clinic directly or book an appointment and does not require a referral for that.
  • Abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy are quite limited in NSW.
  • Later abortions are usually performed due to important medical reasons like foetal abnormalities.

Informed Consent

This is a core part of any abortion process. It means that before making any decision on the abortion or any medical process for that matter, the health care provider must give information on the procedure and the possible complications and risks attached.

People under 16 years

For those below 16 years, the doctor will generally ask questions to determine if the person understands the procedure and what abortion means to them. This is how the doctor concludes that there is informed consent.

A person below 16 can give informed consent to the abortion if, in the opinion of the doctor, the person is mature enough to know and understand the significance of the decision they are making. However, having a trusted adult or parent with you can serve as support.

People with intellectual disability

If a person who has an intellectual disability can give informed consent, they have the same rights and privileges as every other person.  But if they cannot provide informed consent and in the professional opinion of the doctor, abortion is best for them, then an application should be filed with the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal Guardianship Division.