ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa congratulates the Ministry of Health for offering telemedicine abortion care for early medical abortions to same patients during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“The Ministry of Health has designated abortion care as an essential service, and fair enough. Abortion care is time sensitive. Abortions are very safe, with less chance of complications than getting your wisdom teeth removed. But the earlier you access care, the safer it is,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.

“Telemedicine has been used for seven years in Iowa, and has proven safe and effective, with complications occurring in less than 0.5% of early medical abortions provided that way.

“Health practitioners are able to provide all relevant advice, offer counselling, and obtain informed consent over the phone, and courier the pills to the patient. This allows the patient to stay within their bubble. For people who live in remote areas, it saves them a long trip by car.”

Before the law changed, early medical abortions required two trips to the clinic to take the two medicines, taken 24 – 48 hours apart on clinic premises. The most dangerous part of the abortion was literally driving to and from the clinic.

“If people need abortion care, they should ring their DHB. DHBs have a responsibility to ensure patients in their catchment area are able to receive the services they need, even if the DHB does not provide them. In those cases, the DHB may organise care with another DHB.”

New Zealand reformed its abortion laws last month. Abortion is now available without restrictions up to 20 weeks. ALRANZ and others fought for abortion law reform for over 40 years.