Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate community attitudes to abortion, including views on whether doctors should face sanctions for performing late abortion in a range of clinical and social situations. DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: An anonymous online survey of 1050 Australians aged 18 years or older (stratified by sex, age and location) using contextualised questions, conducted between 28 and 31 July 2008. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Attitudes to abortion, particularly after 24 weeks' gestation. RESULTS: Our study showed a high level of support for access to early abortion; 87% of respondents indicated that abortion should be lawful in the first trimester (61% unconditionally and 26% depending on the circumstances). In most of the clinical and social circumstances described in our survey, a majority of respondents indicated that doctors should not face professional sanctions for performing abortion after 24 weeks' gestation. CONCLUSIONS: Our data show that a majority of Australians support laws which enable women to access abortion services after 24 weeks' gestation, and that support varies depending on circumstances. Simple yes/no polls may give a misleading picture of public opinion.

Original publication




Journal article


Med J Aust

Publication Date





9 - 12


Abortion, Induced, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Attitude to Health, Australia, Female, Gestational Age, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Physicians, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Trimester, First, Pregnancy Trimester, Second, Public Opinion, Young Adult