Majority support for access to abortion care including later abortion in South Australia

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Objective: To measure public opinion about access to abortion in South Australia. Methods: An online survey conducted in 2019. SPSS statistical package version 22 was used for data analysis, with data weighted by age, gender, and region. Results: The majority (65%) of the 1,012 respondents supported the ready availability of abortion care and an additional 25% supported availability in certain circumstances. Most (70%) were unaware that abortion remains in criminal law and 80% supported decriminalisation. Support for safe access zones (88%) and the application of existing protections (69%) and obligations (94%) for conscientious objectors was high. A majority (63%) considered that later abortion should be available ‘when the woman and her healthcare team decide it is necessary’. Conclusions: These results confirm the trend of increasing support for access to abortion and add two new insights. There was majority support for using existing general protections for the rights and obligations of those with a conscientious objection to abortion. Second, there was strong support for decisions about later abortion to be decided through normal clinical consultation. These results indicate general community approval of abortion being normalised as healthcare, with the safeguards and accountabilities that status entails. Implications for public health: These results invite repeal of special laws about abortion care, to enable better access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-352
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Early online date8 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


  • abortion law reform
  • population survey
  • public opinion on abortion
  • women's sexual health


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