Termination of Pregnancy in Tasmania
Legal and Available
Termination of pregnancy (ToP), also known as abortion, is legal and available in Tasmania. There are two kinds of termination of pregnancy available in Tasmania: non-surgical/medical terminations (MTOP) (available for pregnancies up to 9 weeks) and surgical termination of pregnancy (SToP) (available for pregnancies up to 16 weeks). SToPs for pregnancies over 16 weeks (typically up to 22-24 weeks) are available interstate.
To access a Termination of Pregnancy in Tasmania you can directly contact a service in your area. For SToP services you will also need a referral from a GP. Women’s Health Tasmania have a comprehensive list of MToP and SToP services on their website.
You can ask your GP to refer you to a ToP service in your local area. Some GPs (listed here) may be able to provide MToPs directly.
Some GPs may not agree with your choice to terminate your pregnancy for personal reasons such as religious beliefs. This is called conscientious objection. In this instance, by law, GPs must refer you to a service that can provide you with information, advice and referral for all pregnancy choices, including termination of pregnancy. There are four services recommended by the Tasmanian Government:
- The Link Youth Health Service
- Pulse Youth Health South
- Family Planning Tasmania
- Women’s Health Tasmania
Why do people choose to terminate?
People choose to terminate a pregnancy for a variety of reasons. There is no ‘right way’ to feel about your choice to terminate a pregnancy. For some people, this might be a straightforward, confident decision. For others, it might be a very difficult and upsetting decision. If you are unsure about your decision and need to talk it through with a professional, you can contact one of the above services.
About Medical Termination of Pregnancy
In Tasmania, a medical termination of pregnancy (MToP) or medical abortion is available for pregnancies up to 9 weeks (63 days).
Medical terminations of pregnancy are non-surgical, meaning you don’t need to have an operation. MToPs can be carried out at home.
An MToP involves a consultation with a GP (in person or via telehealth) who prescribes a medication (commonly two doses of tablets). You will need to go to a chemist with the script to get the medication. The medication will cause the pregnancy to end as a miscarriage. This can happen around 6-12 hours after taking the medication. You will need to visit the doctor after having the MToP to make sure everything worked out ok and that you are no longer pregnant.
Women’s Health Tasmania have a comprehensive list of MToP services on their website.
About Surgical Termination of Pregnancy
In Tasmania, a surgical termination of pregnancy (SToP) or surgical abortion is available for pregnancies up to 16 weeks. SToPs are available at public hospitals in Tasmania and can be access by referral from a GP.
SToPs are typically done in hospitals, day surgeries or private clinics with some form of anaesthetic depending on whether you want to be awake or asleep for the procedure. During the procedure, the doctor will use a small vacuum or suction aspiration to gently remove the pregnancy from the uterus. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes, plus preparation and recovery time.
To access an SToP, you will need a referral from a GP.
SToPs for pregnancies over 16 weeks (typically up to 20-22 weeks) are available interstate. The Tasmanian Government through the Department of Health provides financial help with transport and/or accommodation for Tasmanian residents needing to travel interstate for SToPs. Find out more about the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme here.
You can phone the following helplines to find out about interstate services:
- Victoria - 1800 MY OPTIONS (1800 696 784)
- New South Wales - Family Planning NSW Talkline (1300 658 886)
- South Australia - Pregnancy Advisory Centre (08 8243 3999)
- Queensland - Children By Choice (1800 177 725)
Youth Health Fund
If you are aged under 25 years old you may be eligible for the Youth Health Fund, which can cover medical expenses including termination of pregnancy, scripts and GP appointments. You do not need a Concession or Health Care Card to access this fund. Contact The Link to find out if you’re eligible.
Women's Health Fund
If you are aged 25 and over and have a Pension Concession Card, Health Care Card or are experiencing financial hardship, you may be eligible for the Women’s Health Fund. Contact Women’s Health Tasmania to find out if you’re eligible.
Can I access a termination of pregnancy if I'm under 18?
Check out our article, 'Can I still make choices about my pregnancy if I'm under 18?' for more information.
Need to talk about your options?
The Tasmanian Government recommends these services for information, advice and referral for pregnancy choices: