Any woman of reproductive age, who is normal and sexually active, can conceive. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing but at times it comes when least expected or prepared for. In such cases, it may be necessary to terminate (or end) the pregnancy, a process referred to as abortion. In Australia, abortion is legalized by all the states and performed by a licensed and qualified health professional. Available research indicates that a majority of Australians are in support of legal and safe abortion.
Types of abortion
Two types of abortion are performed in Australia. These include medical and surgical abortion. The choice of which method to use depends on the gestation (age) of the pregnancy. Here is a brief description of the two methods:
Most pregnancies are usually terminated in the first trimester (7-12 weeks) of pregnancy. Surgical abortion involves low-risk procedure referred to as suction curette or suction aspiration. In this procedure, a qualified doctor carefully removes the lining and the contents of the womb (uterus) along with the developing embryo. In more advanced pregnancies, other surgical procedures are used.
Medical abortion is an alternative to surgical abortion and it is normally used when the pregnancy is less than 7-9 weeks gestation. However, each health facility has its own protocols when it comes to when medical abortion should be used. Medical abortion involves the use of Mifepristone (RU 486) or “abortion pill”, as it is commonly referred to. This pill has upto 98 percent efficacy when used in the first 7-9 weeks of pregnancy. Mifepristone is widely available in most clinics in Australia.
How much does an abortion cost in Australia?
Each state in Australia has its own protocol in regard to safe and legal abortion. Furthermore, the costs of procuring either medical or surgical abortion differ across the states. So, how much does abortion cost in your state? Before listing the real cost, it is good to know factors that may affect or determine the costs first.
- The state as well as the clinic in which the procedure is performed
- The gestation of pregnancy (the more advanced it is the most costly it may be)
- The method of abortion used which could be either medical or surgical
- Availability of private health insurance as this may assist with some costs
Another important factor that can influence the cost of abortion in Australia is Medicare rebates. Medicare is a publicly funded universal health care for all Australian nationals. The standard Medicare rebate is 85 percent of the Medicare determined scheduled fee. The patient pays any cost above the scheduled payment to the health facility that performs the procedure.
If you have Medicare card, the policy will fund most of the abortion costs. However, like with other private health policies, you may be required to pay some other costs for services you will be provided with on the day of the procedure. If you have the procedure when Medicare safety nets cut in, then the entire cost of the procedure may be covered by the Medicare rebate.
Cost of Abortion in New South Wales (NSW)
Abortion is legal in NSW under certain circumstance and must be performed by a registered doctor. Currently, the average cost of surgical abortion in NSW is approximately $380 Australian dollars. The fees may range from $300 to $800 depending on the factors mentioned earlier. The cost for medical abortion has dramatically changed after the price of RU486 was slashed from $800 to a paltry $12 by Julia Gillard’s announcement in 2013.
Cost of Abortion in Victoria
Some hospitals in Victoria may actually offer abortion services free of charge but only carry out limited number of abortions. If you have a Medicare card, it will take care of most of the costs but you will have to pay some out-of-pocket fees. These fees may range from $300 to $500 depending on the particular clinic or hospital you visit. The out-of-pocket fees will be higher if you do not possess a Medicare Card. Medical abortion in Victorian state is relatively cheaper given the current low price of Mifepristone (RU486).
Cost of Abortion in Queensland (QLD)
Currently, abortion in Queensland is a crime unless it is recommended by a registered doctor. However, if you will have abortion, the amount of money you will pay will depend on whether you are a Medicare cardholder or not. The overall cost of early term abortions will start from $400 to $500 after the rebate but women in more remote locations may have to pay more. The pricing for surgical abortions is distributed as follows in Queensland: Up to 11 weeks: $480 – $580, 11 to 14 weeks: $500 – $740, and 14 to 16 weeks: $800 – $1370 for Medicare card holders.
Cost of Abortion in Western Australia (WA)
Abortion is legal in Western Australia as long as you are over 16 years and the pregnancy is less than 20 weeks gestation. If you reside in Western Australia and you have unwanted pregnancy you wish to terminate, be ready to part with between $350 and $850 depending on whether you possess the Medicare card or not. In order to know the how much it will cost in a particular clinic then you will have contact that clinic or hospital. The cost for medical abortions and surgical abortions approximates each other in terms of cost.
Cost of Abortion in Tasmania
Tasmania is one of the more difficult states in Australia to get abortion services. This is partly because of the laws and regulations governing elective abortion. However, things have improved since the year 2013. This also means that the cost of procuring either medical abortion or surgical abortion remains high even for the holders of the Medicare card. Nevertheless, it is not easy to know the cost of abortion in Tasmania without contacting the clinics that offer the services.
Cost of Abortion in Northern Territory (NT)
In Northern Territory, medical or surgical termination of pregnancy can be done before 14 weeks gestation, if two registered doctors agree in good faith that there is a course to believe that carrying on with the pregnancy is risky to the mother. Procuring abortion in Northern Territory will cost you between $480 and $740 if you are a Medicare Card holder. The costs for medical and surgical abortions are averagely the same.
I believe the information above has sufficiently answered the question “how much does an abortion cost in Australia?” The exact cost is difficult to deduce as many confounding factors may affect how much you will pay at a given time. It is therefore important to contact clinics and public hospitals in these states to find out the exact charges before you make up your mind to visit the facility.