Australian Women Have To Jump Through These Hoops To Get An Abortion

    This simple chart shows just how easy - or hard - it is to procure an abortion in your state.

    Women across Australia have very different levels of control over their own fertility. The cost of and access to reproductive healthcare varies drastically between states and territories. In two states, abortion is even considered a crime.

    In Queensland and New South Wales abortion is still written into 100-year-old criminal law and in the Northern Territory some women have to travel thousands of kilometres to terminate a pregnancy, while in Victoria and Tasmania abortion is not only legal but women are able to access clinics without fear of harassment and intimidation by protestors thanks to the enactment of "safe access zones".

    Here are the challenges women face in each state or territory.

    Anna Mendoza/BuzzFeed News

    In NSW abortion is a crime.

    A pregnancy can only be terminated if a doctor believes it is necessary to prevent a serious risk to the life or health of a woman.

    A bill to decriminalise abortion, enact safe access zones around clinics and force doctors who conscientiously object to abortion to refer women to a doctor who doesn't, was this month introduced by Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi.

    A separate private member's bill from Labor MP Penny Sharpe seeks only to create safe access zones around abortion clinics.

    The majority of the state's residents (87%) believe women should be able to have an abortion and 81% support the enactment of protest exclusion zones across the state, polling released by Faruqi found.

    Most of them (76%) were unaware that abortion was still in the NSW Crimes Act (1900).

    A first trimester surgical abortion can cost between $300 and $700.

    A medical abortion - RU486 - will cost $250 for Medicare card holders and $600 without.

    I'm in Cairns joining together with @RobJPyne and the community to decriminalise abortion in NSW & Qld.

    In Queensland abortion is still a crime and is only lawful to "prevent serious danger to the woman's physical or mental health".

    Women experiencing unplanned pregnancies across the sunshine state have been turned away from hospitals, been judged by their GPs, bought plane tickets to procure an abortion and experienced harassment outside clinics as there is no law stopping protestors from gathering.

    Cairns MP Rob Pyne's bill to decriminalise abortion was recently rejected by a parliamentary inquiry but he has introduced a second amended bill that he believes answers all the inquiry's concerns.

    It seeks to amend the state's health act to introduce gestational limits and conscientious objection, as well as exclusion zones around clinics to prevent harassment of staff and patients.

    Medical abortions through a GP in Queensland cost between $350 and $580 upfront before Medicare rebates with costs as high as $790 for clinics in Rockhampton or Townsville and as low as $40 at a Cairns clinic.

    For surgical abortions the cost is between $400 and $760 for up to 12 weeks and between $810 and $1470 for 14 weeks depending on where the woman lives.

    Siobhan Marren / NEWZULU

    Since 2008 abortion by a qualified medical practitioner has been legal in Victoria if a woman is less than 24 weeks pregnant.

    After 24 weeks a second practitioner must agree the termination is in the patient's best interest for an abortion to be lawfully performed.

    This month a mother of 13 became the first person arrested for breaching Victoria's safe access zone laws - which were introduced last year - outside a Melbourne fertility clinic.

    Abortions performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy cost between $160 and $450 depending on the anaesthesia and the type of hospital or clinic.

    The Medicare rebate ranges from $116.50 and $165.50.

    Abortion remains in the NT's criminal code but was modified by the Medical Services Act in 1974 which makes the procedure lawful up to 14 weeks if two doctors agree the woman's physical and/or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy or if there is a serious foetal abnormality.

    However, abortions are hard to obtain as there are only three hospitals that provide surgical abortions, in Darwin and Alice Springs, and they are 1500km apart.

    The territory is the only jurisdiction that does not allow early medical abortions and women have had to join waiting lists and travel to seek a surgical abortion.

    The newly elected NT chief minister Michael Gunner has promised to introduce legislation to amend this.

    Siobhan Marren / NEWZULU

    In Western Australia abortion is legal up to 20 weeks, with women under 16 years of age requiring one parent to be informed, and given the opportunity to participate in counselling before a termination can be performed.

    Surgical and medical abortion costs at a private clinic range between $290 and $440.

    Abortions after 20 weeks are hard to obtain in Western Australia; two medical practitioners from a panel of six appointed by the minister for health have to agree that the mother or unborn baby has a severe medical condition.

    These abortions can only be performed at a facility approved by the minister.

    Abortion is lawful in South Australia if the woman has lived in the state for more than two months, the "maternal health" or "foetal disability" ground is satisfied and the abortion is carried out within 28 weeks of conception by a hospital or legally qualified medical practitioner.

    Under SA law, the woman herself can still be charged with procuring an “unlawful” abortion.

    Most abortions in SA are performed in public hospitals, sometimes at no cost.

    Dan Peled / AAPIMAGE


    Abortion was legalised in Tasmania in 2013 when it also became unlawful to protest, harass or record within 150 metres of a clinic.

    It is now lawful on request up to 16 weeks gestation and beyond that pending the agreement of two doctors.

    There are only two private medical clinics providing termination of pregnancy services in Tasmania, both located in Hobart.

    Abortion was legalised in the Australian Capital Territory in 2002.

    There is one clinic offering surgical abortions in Canberra.

    Women in the ACT have been traveling to nearby Queanbeyan, in NSW, to access cheaper medical abortion drugs (RU486) as laws penalise people who carry out abortions outside government-approved clinics.

    Gina Rushton is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.

    Contact Gina Rushton at gina.rushton@buzzfeed.com.

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