ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa notes with disappointment that the Ministry of Health survey shows improvements to abortion care have not reached all DHBs.

While delays for early medical and surgical abortions have shortened in some DHBs, others still do not offer abortion care at all. Different DHBs do not provide medical abortions, or telemedicine, or abortions post 20 weeks gestation.

“It’s particularly concerning that DHBs that do not provide a service also do not fund their catchment for telemedicine abortion care,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ president.

“The Ministry needs to provide training opportunities for GPs, nurse practitioners, and midwives, and establish workable standards for abortion care outside hospital settings, if they want to improve access across the country. Funding needs to follow the patient, as it does for primary maternity care, rather than get routed through DHB system.

“Providers also need assurance that they and their patients can stay safe from people trying to prevent them from providing or accessing care, by establishing safe areas around places where abortion is provided,” she added.

New Zealand reformed its abortion laws in March of 2020, decriminalising the procedure and aligning it with other health care.