Western Australia’s historic abortion reform now in effect

  • Cook Government’s new abortion laws in effect from today
  • Improved access for women seeking abortion services
  • Widespread support for the laws that bring WA in line with other Australian jurisdictions

Western Australia’s new abortion laws are now in effect, cementing access to equitable and improved healthcare for women across the State.

The new laws decriminalise abortion, remove clinically unnecessary barriers for women and bring Western Australia in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

Public consultation showed widespread support from both health professionals and the community for these historic reforms, which will:

  • reduce the number of health practitioners required to be involved in most abortions from two to one;
  • allow nurse practitioners and endorsed midwives to prescribe abortion drugs within their scope of practice;
  • remove the requirement for mandatory counselling; and
  • remove the requirement for Ministerial approval for a health service to perform late abortions.

Health practitioners are permitted to conscientiously object, but they are required to refer the patient to another practitioner or provide information on where to access care.

The gestational limit at which additional requirements apply has been changed from 20 to 23 weeks to best reflect current clinical practice and better align with other jurisdictions.

More information can be found from a medical practitioner, or on the HealthyWA website: https://www.healthywa.wa.gov.au/abortion

As stated by Premier Roger Cook:

“My Government is committed to improving access to healthcare right across our State, and tackling the inequity faced by women in regional and remote WA.

“These significant reforms will make it easier for women to access vital services – regardless of where they live.”

As stated by Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson:

“Today we welcome important and historic reform that protects a woman’s right to access a critical aspect of healthcare safe and accessible abortion.

“I would like to thank Western Australian health professionals and the community for their overwhelming supporting for this abortion reform.”

As stated by Attorney General John Quigley:

“These new laws decriminalise abortion, which brings Western Australia in line with other Australian jurisdictions.

“This reflects the fact that abortion care is part of everyday healthcare for women.”

As stated by Women’s Interests Minister Sue Ellery:

“Our modernised abortion laws will reduce barriers for women seeking an abortion, which is a fundamental component of women’s health.

“These laws bring WA in line with other jurisdictions, eliminating the need to travel interstate for care.”

/Public Release. View in full here.