Abortion services available by phone for some New Zealanders during lockdown

Radio NZ News 7 April 2020
Some women can now access early abortion services without leaving home during lockdown, due to a law change that came into play just days before the country moved into covid-19 alert level four.

With an in-depth telephone consultation, a doctor could determine whether a person qualified for an early medical abortion, acquire informed consent and offer counselling, said Dr Helen Paterson, chair of the Abortion Providers Group Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Provided people fit the criteria to be able to have a safe early medical abortion… then we could actually just send them the [tablets in a] courier package,” Paterson said.

This meant people were not forced to travel to clinics or hospitals during lockdown.

Paterson said she had provided this service herself, though it was only on offer through certain district health boards (DHBs).

An early medical abortion is where pills are taken to induce a miscarriage. This can be done up to nine weeks of pregnancy.

Before the new Abortion Legislation Act came into play on 23 March, women were required to first see their GP for a referral to then speak to two more doctors, called certifying consultants, before they were allowed to have an abortion. In addition to this, the pills required for an early medical abortion, which are usually taken 24 to 48 hours apart, had to be administered on the premises of a licensed abortion clinic.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/413671/abortion-services-available-by-phone-for-some-new-zealanders-during-lockdown

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