Victorian Late Term Abortion figures released

The long awaited late term abortion figures from the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity, Victoria have finally been released.   The report which details the 2010 and 2011 data is available on our website here and shows a continuing tragic picture specifically for women seeking termination for psychosocial conditions and their children.  (Full reports for other years HERE)

Our preliminary overview provides you the specifics of termination including the page numbers where you can find the data below.

In 2010 there were a total of 366 post 20wk terminations, 2011 a total of 378.

Of 366 in 2010, 191 were for psychosocial indications, of 378 in 2011, 183 were for psychosocial indications. (Table 6.20, pg 159)

In 2010, 184 of these were carried out between 20-27 weeks, and 7 between 28 and 31 weeks.  (table 6.21a, pg 160, item 5.1)

In 2011, 172 were carried out between 20-27 weeks, 10 between 28 and 31 weeks and 1 after 37 weeks. (Table 6.21b, pg 161, item 5.1)

Of the terminations for congenital abnormalities there were 24 and 40 babies born alive following premature labour induction without intention to rescusitate in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

Of these, the conditions were:(table 6.16, pg 142-143)


  • Central nervous system: 46 (37 stillborn, 9 neonatal deaths)
  • Cardiovascular system: 17 (14 stillborn, 3 neonatal deaths)
  • Urinary tract system: 15 (14 stillborn, 1 neonatal death)
  • Gastrointestinal system: 3 stillborn
  • Chromosomal condition: 52 (48 stillborn, 4 neonatal deaths)
  • Multiple problems: 25 (20 stillborn, 5 neonatal deaths)
  • Musculoskeletal: 17 (15 stillborn, 2 neonatal deaths)


  • Central nervous system: 51 (38 stillborn, 13 neonatal deaths)
  • Cardiovascular system: 29 (24 stillborn, 5 neonatal deaths)
  • Urinary tract system: 6 (3 stillborn, 3 neonatal deaths)
  • Gastrointestinal system: 8 (7 stillborn, 1 neonatal deaths)
  • Chromosomal condition: 47 (37 stillborn, 10 neonatal deaths)
  • Multiple conditions: 33 (28 stillborn, 5 neonatal deaths)
  • Musculoskeletal: 16 (14 stillborn, 2 neonatal deaths)
  • Haemotologic condition: 1 stillborn
  • Tumours: 1 stillborn
  • Not stated: 2 stillborn
  • 1 neonatal death unspecified in report

We know the evidence supports the claim that women undergoing late term abortion are particularly at risk of psychological harm.

With 18 women undergoing termination post 28 weeks in Victoria between 2010 and 2011, one of whom was over 37 weeks gestation, we have to ask how women benefit from the termination of the lives of their healthy unborn children at a stage when those children could be delivered and other services put in place to support the woman to either parent or not as she chooses.






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11 Comments to “Victorian Late Term Abortion figures released”

  1. […] in the week I wrote this piece following the long awaited release of Victoria’s Maternal, Perinatal, Child and Adolescent […]

  2. David Rock says:

    Dear Debbie,

    Appreciate what you’ve written on your site. its really hard to get any kind of accurate statistical evidence that is informative. Appreciate the sensitive way you write about this issue. It helps us to be able to think through this is a helpful way.

    Kind Regards,


  3. […] to be common.. maternal health.   In Victoria, more than half of all late term (post 20wk) abortions are for psychosocial reasons.  In 2011, one of these occurred in a full term pregnancy, 10 occurred after 28 […]

  4. Victoria says:

    Dear Debbie

    Some of these stats have been used for election propaganda which is how I’ve ended up at your website (trying to fact check). I am curious what psycho social indications actually mean, particularly with respect to the 37wk termination. I struggle to believe that any doctor would authorise a termination so late in gestation to a healthy unborn foetus as opposed to providing social services support post birth. Any light you can shed would be much appreciated. Many thanks

    • Debbie Garratt says:

      Hi Victoria

      We are unable to access any further data regarding the late term abortions, however we do know that psychosocial encompasses any cause other than foetal or maternal physical health. This leaves a range of circumstances that women may experience including economic and relational concerns, and mental health issues. I have been curious that more people, including the media have not been very interested in the very late gestation of this abortion, or even the number that are undertaken well past viability after 28 weeks. It does seem difficult to believe or understand that any woman’s psychosocial circumstances, whatever they are, are best served by the termination not just of her pregnancy (by delivery), but by the termination of her unborn’s life.

      In Victoria a woman requires only the agreement of 2 doctors to allow an abortion between 24 weeks and full term. The second doctor is not required to consult directly with the woman, but can give consent by telephone consult with the first agreeing doctor.

      I can assure you that the statistics on our website are all accurate and where we can, we provide the original documentation, or at least a link to it.

      • Terry Jansen says:

        I’m so horrified that abortions are legal up to full term..even at 12 weeks with their little arms and legs it distresses me to know so very many abortions occur. I realise there are legitimate reasons in certain cases but how many are done because of inconvenience. It should only be done in the very early stages where possible. I am an older person but my heart breaks to think how many babies suffer pain during the termination. Tis very sad

  5. […] Victoria in 2011 alone, 10 late term abortions were carried out after 28 weeks of pregnancy, and 1 was undertaken after 37 weeks.   Some of the […]

  6. Dee says:

    Why wouldn’t she just be induced at 37 weeks and then adopt the baby? I’m so baffled and sickened by this.

    • Debbie Garratt says:

      We can equally ask why her child wasn’t delivered and she be offered support to overcome whatever issues she was facing in order to parent, along with the other women who terminated after 28 weeks. The majority of the general public do not support abortion in the last trimester, and remain unaware that the best we are offering women with psychosocial issues even at this stage of pregnancy is abortion.

  7. marrianne says:

    Fascinating! Thanks for the figures! I just cant get them to add up. In 2010 366 post 20 week abortions took place, then futher down 184 taking place between 20 & 27 weeks & 7 between 28 & 31weeks. Were the remainder (175 babies) aborted after 31 weeks? Surely not!

    • Debbie Garratt says:

      Hi Marrianne

      The 184 are the terminations for psychosocial indications specifically, not inclusive of those done for congenital abnormalities. We point these out particularly because many people remain unaware that there are so many women being offered termination to resolve their social, economic, emotional, or relational problems even late in pregnancy. Deb

      • marrianne says:

        Thanks Debbie for clearing that up, I can see it now. Thank you so much for making these figures available, I’m working on getting signatures for the upcoming Infant Viability Bill 2015 so this website has been very helpful!

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