Considering abortion: a 12-month audit of records of women contacting a Pregnancy Advisory Service

Med J Aust. 2009 Jan 19;190(2):69-72. doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2009.tb02278.x.


Objective: To characterise the demographic and psychosocial circumstances of women contacting Victoria's largest public pregnancy advisory service (PAS).

Design and setting: Audit of PAS electronic records for the 12 months from 1 October 2006 to 30 September 2007. De-identified data were extracted from a comprehensive electronic database used for recording consultations.

Main outcome measures: Summary statistics and measures of association.

Results: During the 12 months, 5462 women contacted PAS; records were created for 3827 women, and data were available in more than 80% of records for 77% (13/17) of items. Over half of the women receiving pregnancy support from PAS (60%) were 18-29 years old; 12% lived outside the metropolitan area; 51% held a health care card, and smaller percentages faced housing, financial, or drug and alcohol problems; 16% reported violence, but 71% described partners as involved and supportive. Most (79%) made contact within 2 weeks of discovering pregnancy, and 72% were referred by a general practitioner. Later gestation at contact was associated with younger age (P < 0.001), having a health care card (P < 0.001), and living outside the metropolitan area (P < 0.001). The most common reasons for seeking abortion were the desire to delay pregnancy (23%) and family completion (18%); 42% already had at least one child. Twenty-three women reported that the pregnancy was the result of rape. Ten per cent had mental health problems, and smaller numbers faced access barriers and had special needs.

Conclusions: This PAS responds to demand from women with diverse social and personal circumstances. Findings provide evidence for policy, prevention and service development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / psychology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Decision Making*
  • Directive Counseling / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned / psychology*
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted / psychology*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Victoria
  • Young Adult