Improving access to abortion services


Much-needed transformation of abortion services is a step closer, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

In March last year, a new law was passed which decriminalised abortion and treats it as a health issue. Previously, the Ministry of Justice oversaw the administration of abortion services rather than the Ministry of Health.

“Abortion services are an essential part of women having control over their fertility. The Government wants everyone to have access to abortion services if they’re needed, regardless of their situation or where they live,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

“A recent survey conducted by the Ministry of Health revealed inconsistencies in abortion services provided across the country.

“We need to find innovative ways to deliver abortion services to women and support the health practitioners involved.

“The Ministry of Health is seeking expressions of interest from providers to develop projects across three areas: establishing a new service that’s been co-designed with rangatahi Māori, improving access to existing services and providing better training for the workforce.

“Accessible abortion services for Māori, Pacific, and disabled people is a key focus and applications will be evaluated on their ability to partner with Māori/ iwi, youth, community and school-based workers and groups.

“These initiatives sit alongside a wider programme of work that’s underway to strengthen abortion services across the country. This includes developing clinical guidelines for abortion services in New Zealand and work to better support people who use these services,” Dr Ayesha Verrall said.

Registrations of interest (ROI) is now open on the New Zealand Government Electronic Tenders Service, for new and existing health service providers to lead this work alongside the Ministry of Health. It is anticipated the contracts will be awarded mid-year and will run for two years.