Updated abortion legislation yet to commence

While updated abortion legislation has passed Western Australian parliament, it is not expected to commence until March or April of 2024. Until then, practitioners must continue to practise according to the existing legislation.

Currently the law in WA requires providers have a referral from another doctor who has discussed the risks of an abortion, the risks of continuing the pregnancy, and the option of a referral to counselling about this pregnancy. Patients aged under 16 must also be assessed to determine if they are a dependent minor, in which case custodial parent or guardian involvement is required.

There is also a requirement, within 14 days of the abortion being performed (or the medications being prescribed) for the medical practitioner performing the abortion to complete a notification form.

Additionally, while the TGA and PBS expanded MS-2 Step prescribing in August 2023 to any healthcare practitioner with appropriate qualifications and training (e.g., nurse practitioners and authorised midwives), current WA law also restricts both referral for, and the provision of, abortion, to medical practitioners, superseding this amendment.

For more information see HealthPathways WA – Unintended Pregnancy and Abortion and Medical Abortion.