Helping your patients and clients access abortion
If you are supporting a pregnant woman seeking an abortion in Queensland, you may be aware of some of the barriers she might face in trying to access a procedure. The ease or otherwise with which a woman can access an abortion in Queensland is very much dependent on her location, gestation, and financial situation.
Below is a summary of abortion access options in Queensland. Depending on your patient's or client's situation, you may need to provide her with some extra support to enable her to access a procedure - either in the form of referring her for some financial support to access a procedure through a GP or private clinic, or advocacy and referral to enable her to access a publicly provided procedure.
Options for accessing abortion in Queensland
Surgical abortion: The procedure itself takes between three and ten minutes, however the average length of time spent at the clinic is between three and four hours because this includes pre and post operative care. A different procedure technique and timeframe applies for abortions after about fourteen weeks. They can also be more difficult and expensive to access after this time.
Medical abortion: This uses the drugs mifepristone (commonly known as RU486) and misoprostol to induce a miscarriage. Medical abortion is only available to nine weeks gestation, and women will need to attend a followup appointment with their provider in most cases, around two weeks later.
Private clinics: The majority of terminations in Queensland are performed in private day surgeries licensed by Queensland Health. There are around ten of these clinics, mostly in the southeast corner of the state, with three in regional centres (Rockhampton, Townsville and Cairns). They offer high quality care but have out-of-pocket costs attached starting from around $400 in Brisbane and close to $700 regionally. Some clinics only offer either medical or surgical abortion, some offer both. Gestation limits and costs vary from clinic to clinic. Queensland clinics are listed here.
Public hospitals: There is very limited access to termination in the Queensland public hospital system, and generally only women with severe fetal anomaly or extremely extenuating personal circumstances will be eligible.
GPs: Medical abortion is now able to be prescribed by GPs who have undergone training to be certified prescribers. No public list of GP providers is available and most GPs still have out-of-pocket costs of over $250 for medical abortion. Some Queensland GPs who provide medical abortion in Queensland are listed here.
The cost of termination procedures vary depending on method, provider, location and the gestation of the pregnancy. Costs increase regularly, so check our abortion costs page for up to date information.