This Woman’s Doctor Told Her Abortion After 9 Weeks Was Not Possible


Hannah* was 20 years old when she fell unexpectedly
pregnant.

Hannah* was 20 years old when she fell unexpectedly pregnant.

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Diego_cervo / Getty Images

ID: 9376399

Unlike in most other Australian states, abortion is still in
the Criminal Code
in her home state of Queensland
and is only lawful if performed to “prevent serious danger
to the woman’s physical or mental health”.

“I knew abortion was, and still is, illegal,” Hannah told
BuzzFeed News. “I also knew that an abortion may be legal where
the woman’s mental or physical health is in danger.”

“It upset me that the law meant I felt like I had to fabricate
or exaggerate the potential mental health impact having a child
would have on me so that I would be taken seriously,” she said.

“I believed in my right to choose when I would have children,
regardless of my mental health.”

She went to her GP and asked for a referral to an abortion
provider.

She went to her GP and asked for a referral to an abortion provider.

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Remains / Getty Images

ID: 9376416


The GP gave Hannah the names of clinics that might perform
abortion and also told her it was “only available up until nine
weeks gestation in Queensland”.

This is not entirely true. GPs who offer medical abortion in
Queensland generally do so until nine weeks. However, most
abortion providers offer surgical abortion up to 14-19 weeks.

“I was around six weeks gestation so I was concerned that if I
had to wait a few weeks I may not be able to access a
termination,” she said.

“I asked what an abortion involves and he said that he did not
know.”

Hannah did her own research online and found it
“particularly hard to find reliable information”.

Hannah did her own research online and found it "particularly hard to find reliable information".

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Blaza1980 / Getty Images

ID: 9376436

“I found out there was an option, for terminations in the first
trimester, of a medical termination, which involved taking a
pill which induces miscarriage,” she said.

“I decided this option was less invasive [than a surgical
abortion].”

The abortion cost $575 and Hannah was offered counselling
before and after she was given the medication.

The abortion cost $575 and Hannah was offered counselling before and after she was given the medication.

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Abbphoto / Getty Images

ID: 9376429

“The only emotion I felt was immense relief,” she said.

It isn’t uncommon for women in Queensland to be
refused an abortion by their GP or turned away from the
state’s hospitals, according to gynaecologists and abortion
providers. Doctors remain
fearful to offer the procedure because of the legal
uncertainty.

“I was so thankful that I lived in a country where I could
access health services, and that doctors were brave enough to
continue offering these services, despite the law,” Hannah
said.

There are currently no legislated gestational limits on
abortion in Queensland like there are in other Australian
states – the procedure at any stage in a pregnancy remains in
the Criminal Code.

A bill to decriminalise abortion will be debated by Queensland
parliament next month.



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