Terminating a pregnancy is a very personal and difficult decision. If you are considering abortion, Healthy Matters is here to guide you along the way. Here is all the information you need to know about abortions in Hong Kong including options, what to expect, costs, and where to go – reviewed by Dr. Michael Rogers, OBGYN in Hong Kong.
Is abortion legal in Hong Kong?
Having an abortion in Hong Kong is legal under one of the following conditions:
1) if continuing the pregnancy will risk the life and debilitate the physical and/or mental health of the woman; or
2) if the child is determined to be severely handicapped as a result of a physical or biochemical abnormality.
Termination of pregnancy can only be legally performed by registered doctors at gazetted hospitals or in The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong. Performing an illegal abortion or abortion by oneself or in a doctor’s clinic is liable to fine and imprisonment of both the patient and doctor. In order to perform an abortion legally, Hong Kong Government Forms 1 and 3 need to be signed by two registered doctors, one of which should be the doctor performing the procedure (usually a gynecologist). This means that to get an abortion, you will need to obtain a referral from a gynecologist: referrals can be obtained from the Family Planning Association, The Department of Health (Maternal and Child Health Centres), or from a private doctor.
What is the time limit for having an abortion in Hong Kong?
In Hong Kong, termination of pregnancy can only be performed within 24 weeks of pregnancy unless it is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman. However, each medical provider, the doctor or hospital, may have different time limits. See below for more details.
What are the options for abortion in Hong Kong?
There are two ways to perform an early pregnancy termination; a medical procedure and a surgical procedure. Below are the specifics of each procedure, including the risks and side effects.
Options in Hong Kong
The Procedure: What to Expect
The most common form of medical termination uses two drugs administered over 2 days.
The cervix is firstly dilated either medically (pre-operatively) or surgically under anesthesia.
The contents of the uterus are then removed by suction.
Usually performed under general anesthesia but local anesthesia can be used.
Usually done under ultrasound control to reduce incidence of uterine perforation and incomplete abortion.
Antibiotic prophylaxis usually given intra-operatively or post-operatively to reduce incidence of infection and subsequent fertility problems.
Risks & Side Effects: What to Expect
Incomplete abortion, which may need to be followed by surgical abortion.
An ongoing unwanted pregnancy if the procedure fails.
Heavy and prolonged bleeding, infection, fever, digestive system discomfort.
Infection may lead to infertility, however in general medical abortion has not been shown to affect future pregnancies unless complications develop.
Side effects of drugs which include: vaginal bleeding, abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea and allergic reaction.
Adverse drug reactions, complications related to the anesthesia.
Tear of the cervix, bleeding, uterine perforation or rupture.
Infection and adhesion. Infection may lead to infertility, lead to miscarriage or preterm delivery, and difficulty with delivery of the placenta.
Where to get it and how much does an abortion cost in Hong Kong?
How much: Medical or Surgical Termination under local anesthesia: HK$3,500 (Entitled persons), HK$4,700 (Non-entitled persons)/ Monitored Anesthetic Care: HK$1,900
The FPA can only provide termination services for patients who are pregnant up to ten week’s gestation and have no complicating medical disease or previous uterine surgery (such as a cesarean section).
Below are the listed private hospitals where you can obtain an abortion; referral may still be needed or provided by on-staff doctors.
Matilda provides termination services for patients who are pregnant up to 14 weeks for surgical termination and up to 7 weeks for a medical termination. For cases between 15 and 24 weeks, termination of pregnancy may be performed for fetal abnormality or serious maternal medical conditions subject to approval by the Medical Superintendant.
Gleneagles provides termination services for patients who are pregnant under 12 weeks gestation.
Termination of pregnancy can be arranged after the consultation with their on-staff doctors. You can arrange to see a doctor after 6 weeks of pregnancy, under Hong Kong’s law termination of pregnancy can only be arranged before 24 weeks.
Union Hospital provides termination services for patients who are under 20 weeks.
Does insurance cover abortion?
According to health insurance advisor AD MediLink, in Hong Kong most insurance plans cover abortion for serious medical conditions. However, the circumstances vary and are done on a case-by-case basis. You may also be required to provide medical justification. In some cases, you may need to have maternity cover and respect the maternity waiting time for abortion to be covered by your insurance provider. Some plans do not cover abortion under any circumstances including plans where maternity cover is provided.
Contraception is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy, you can contact The Hong Kong Family Planning Association, the resources listed above, and your doctor for more information on contraceptive options available.
Reviewed by Dr. Michael Rogers 羅傑士醫生 and updated on May 2020.