16 May 2012                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Plans to set up abortion services in Southland are good news for women of the region who will no longer have to make long journeys to Dunedin or Christchurch for care they should be able to get in their own area, the president of ALRANZ Dr. Morgan Healey said today.

The Southland Times reported today that Southland Hospital is expected to be able to perform abortions from July, and quoted the chief medical officer as saying the service would ensure women had “adequate access to care in their own district”.

“We’re heartened at the medical officer’s comments and the clear concern that women shouldn’t have to travel long distances for abortion care,” Dr. Healey said. In the past, Southland women had to travel to Christchurch, then after the earthquake, to Dunedin for abortion services.

As the newspaper noted, the Abortion Supervisory Committee expressed concern in 2010 about the lack of local service for the women of Southland, and in its most recent report also pointed to Southland as an area with a lack of Certifying Consultants. (Two certifying consultants must approve each abortion.)

Women from the Southland region had 231 abortions in 2010, down from 260 the previous year. But the latest report also showed that Southland women were having abortion later than women in most other regions – from around 8 ½ weeks to more than 10 weeks, Dr. Healey said.

“ALRANZ hopes a local service will mean women can access services earlier, as research shows the sooner an abortion is performed the safer it is,” Dr. Healey said.

“We hope this move in Southland will be replicated in other areas where women must travel outside their own district for care, such as the West Coast, Whanganui-Manawatu, Tasman and the Bay of Plenty,” she said.

For more information visit www.alranz.org

Dr. Morgan Healey
ALRANZ National President

ALRANZ’s Phone No.: 021-0827-6474