A medical abortion is a procedure in which medication is used to end a pregnancy up to 9 weeks (63 days).
It is a two-step procedure. The first medication is mifepristone, which blocks the hormone necessary for the pregnancy to continue and the second medication, taken 24 to 48 hours later, is misoprostol which expels the pregnancy. The second step usually takes 4 to 6 hours, but this can vary. Medical abortion is a low-risk option for early termination of pregnancy, with a high success rate.
Confidential and affordable medical abortion services are available at SHQ. Our staff are non-judgemental and are here to support you and your individual decision.
Accessing Medical Abortion at SHQ
Due to the passing of the Abortion Legislation Reform Bill 2023 in September 2023, Western Australia’s abortion laws will change significantly in March/April 2024. Read more about the new legislation.
1. First appointment
The first appointment will involve a talk with one of our friendly doctors about options, and what to expect during and after a medical abortion. A referral for an ultrasound and blood test will also be provided at this appointment. This is to confirm the pregnancy and establish how far along you are. These tests cannot be undertaken too early but do need to be completed before your second appointment.
The doctor can also offer a referral to our non-directive unintended pregnancy counselling service. This service is completely optional, free, and available before and after an abortion procedure.
2. Second appointment
After you have received the results of your ultrasound and blood test, and can safely take the medication, you will be given a prescription for MS-2 Step. The prescription can be used at any pharmacy. You will also be given a script for pain relief along with additional information on the procedure and potential complications to look out for.
3. Medical Abortion Procedure
Once your prescription is collected, the first dose containing mifepristone can be taken when convenient for you. The second dose containing misoprostol must be taken 36 to 48 hours later. About 1 – 4 hours after the second tablets are taken, cramping and heavy vaginal bleeding (possibly with large blood clots) will begin and continue over several hours. You may also experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, and fever for about a day following the second dose.
Complications are rare but serious. Those experiencing complications (e.g., excessive bleeding and severe pain) will need to attend their nearest emergency room.
4. Follow-up Appointment
A week later you will need to have a blood test and attend a follow up appointment with your doctor to ensure the abortion was successful and that you are not experiencing any complications. They can also discuss contraception options with you and provide you with a referral to our counselling service if needed.
Got a question? Contact our free sexual health helpline and speak to one of our friendly clinicians.
Please phone our friendly staff to discuss medical abortion further, or to make an appointment. Medicare rebates apply (costs can vary). You will be provided with more information about the process, as well as after care, by the clinician at your appointment.
If you are considering a termination of pregnancy, there are time limits in which to make this decision. Unintended pregnancy counselling is available free of charge at SHQ. If you do decide to have an abortion, counselling support is also available post procedure if needed.
Please get in touch as soon as you can. Please note we have limited appointments available and may need to refer you to another clinic during busy times.