How common is abortion?


Reliable, timely and detailed data on abortion rates in NSW are not available. This gap in important reproductive health information is one of the many issues with criminalisation of abortion.

The most reliable estimates we have about abortion in NSW are based on 2003 figures, and indicate/suggest that about 36,000 abortions could have taken place in NSW in 2018[1]. However, the states for which we have good data indicate marked decreases in abortion rates over recent years, so the actual figure is likely to be lower than this[2].

More recent figures (from South Australia) indicate that one in four Australian women will have an abortion in their lifetime[3].

[1]  Figure based on application of AIWH estimate of 22.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in NSW in 2003 applied to the current population (1,626,223 women in NSW in this age group in 2018): Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Use of Routinely collected national data sets for reporting on induced abortion in Australia. 2005. Available from: Note that this figure includes some other procedures.

[2] Rates were 13.2 per 1,000 women in 2016 in South Australian, down from 16.7 in 2003; and 15 per 1,000 women in 2015 in Western Australia, down from 18.7 in 2003:SA Health. Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia. 2016. Available from:; Department of Health, Western Australia. Induced Abortions in Western Australia 2013 – 2015. 2018. Available from:

[3] SA Health. Pregnancy Outcome in South Australia. 2016. Available from: