|The Royal Women’s Hospital is the largest public provider of abortion services in Victoria. The Women’s has been providing abortion services since around the time of the ‘Menhennit ruling’ in 1969 that outlined how abortion should be performed lawfully in Victoria. Before then, the Women’s provided emergency medical care to women suffering after unlawful and unskilled abortions. Victorian laws passed in 2008 mean abortion is a legal procedure when performed under current health laws and guidelines. |
Pregnancy Advisory Service at the Women's
|The Pregnancy Advisory Service (PAS) provides support, information, counselling, referral and advocacy to about 5500 women each year. PAS supports women with respect, impartiality, care and a belief in their sexual and reproductive rights. We have cared for and listened to many thousands of women dealing with unplanned pregnancy. During that time we’ve learned a lot about what women think is important when facing an unplanned pregnancy.|
Why this guide?
|The Women's Pregnancy Advisory Service offers every woman an opportunity to discuss her situation with a counsellor, but we know that not all women want that. We respect that women are capable of making decisions about their pregnancy with or without counselling. |
This guide was developed because we understand that many women would like information, research, ideas, positive support and encouragement with unplanned pregnancy decisions. The guide aims to show the diverse – but common – experiences women have when making a decision about unplanned pregnancy. We have used local and international research to show views and experiences of women and abortion around the world.
Who is the guide for?
|The guide is primarily designed for women wanting to know about unplanned pregnancy services at the Women’s. Some women who contact us have already made a decision. Other women need time to think about continuing or terminating their unplanned pregnancy: this can be a difficult decision. What we have found is that most women who contact us are considering abortion as an option. In fact, 85% of women who visit PAS have already decided to terminate their pregnancy. This guide describes these women’s experiences and offers clear, impartial and evidence-based information. |
We have also provided clear, impartial and evidence-based information for women who are unsure of their decision or who want to continue their pregnancy.
It is a guide is for any woman dealing with unplanned pregnancy. Friends and family of women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy may also find the information useful.
Philosophy and terminology
|The PAS perspective is ‘pro-choice’: we believe that a woman has the right to choose the outcome that is best for her. The outcome may be a safe and legal abortion or continuing a pregnancy with safe, accessible health care and community support.|
‘Pro-choice’ is not the same as ‘pro-abortion’. We do not encourage or advise women in any direction. Our aim is to support each woman to come to her own decision.
We have used ‘unplanned pregnancy’ throughout this guide to refer to a range of pregnancy circumstances, including:
- unwanted pregnancy
- unintended pregnancy
- uncertainty regarding pregnancy decisions.
|We have also used both commonly-known terms ‘termination of pregnancy’ and ‘abortion’ interchangeably throughout this guide.|
Genetic issues and foetal abnormalities
|If you are considering your pregnancy options due to genetic issues or foetal abnormalities, please contact the Royal Women’s Hospital Genetic Counselling Service on (03) 8345 2180 or the Maternal Foetal Medicine Program (FMU) on (03) 8345 2158 for specific information on your situation.|
|This guide was written by the Pregnancy Advisory Service at the Women's. |
The project has also drawn upon the resources of other state-wide, national and international community and women's health services as referred to in the bibliography.
|We appreciate the many thousands of women who have spoken to us over the years with honesty, insight, courage, openness and candour about their unplanned pregnancies and abortion decisions. We hope we have represented their voices accurately and helpfully. |
If you would like further information about this project or you have any suggestions or comments please use our feedback form.
|Apart from some quotes where women have published their experiences directly, we have ensured that all women’s names have been changed and stories de-identified so as to protect their privacy.|
|For a full list of resources and references used to develop the Unplanned Pregnancy Decision-making Guide please download our Bibliography (pdf 642kb)|
To access the Pregnancy Advisory Service at the Women’s
please call (03) 8345 3063.
|1. Victorian State Government, Abortion Law Reform Act 2008, www.legislation.vic.gov.au |
|Published February 2011|