Optimising care for women seeking an abortion over 20 weeks’ gestation

1 November 2023 |

Gaining a better understanding of why women present for an abortion at or over 20 weeks’ gestation is at the heart of this study. 

Lead Researcher Clare McDonald said this research aims to give a voice to those who have lived experience of facing barriers in accessing an abortion.

“Women with unplanned or unwanted pregnancies over 20 weeks are often socially disadvantaged and their voices are underreported,” Ms McDonald said.

“This research aims to identify barriers to time‑sensitive abortion access in the later stages of pregnancy, and to promote better access to respectful, safe and holistic abortion care.”

Ms McDonald, a leader in the Women’s Abortion and Contraception social work team, said the Women’s is the only hospital in Victoria which regularly provides abortions to women over 16 weeks’ gestation.

Her research will identify whether this limit on abortion care contributes towards women receiving abortions at a later stage than they would if abortion care was more available.

Her team has interviewed 16 women who received abortion care at the Women’s when they were over 20 weeks’ gestation.

They have also interviewed 16 healthcare workers from the Women’s Abortion and Contraception service, including social workers, consulting doctors/surgeons, nurses, midwives and administration staff.

The findings are expected to be released in late 2023.