We need better abortion access

That’s the message I take from the Abortion Supervisory Committee’s annual report, as summed up here by ALRANZ.  Per their post:

Disappointingly little progress in ensuring a higher percentage of abortions are performed earlier in pregnancy. Only 34 percent were performed at 8 weeks or less, down from 36 percent in 2010. For pregnancies under 10 weeks, the figure was 55 percent in 2011, down from 56 percent in 2010. (This reflects New Zealand’s poor uptake of early medication abortion – only 6.8 percent of all abortions are medical, as opposed to more than 40 percent in the UK and 72.5 percent in Scotland.)

Let’s be clear:  these people are going to have abortions anyway.  There is nothing stopping these people from having their procedures.  They aren’t changing their minds.  They’re just facing delays, delays caused by our present legal situation, delays which increase the risk of something going wrong, delays which increase the difficulty of the abortion they’re going to have anyway.

Let’s just fucking well acknowledge that these abortions are going to happen, and given that, that we want the people having those abortions to be as safe as possible, don’t we?

Because our current laws force people to see up to 5 different doctors, and because they often have to travel out of their own areas to get the procedure done, they’re facing delays which make it more dangerous for them, more expensive and more time-consuming for our medical profession.

That just isn’t right.  It’s not compassionate.  It’s not caring.  We need to treat people better.

ETA:  Richard Boock has written on the issue also!


The floor is now open for your predictable “but what about the risk to the BABY???” troll comments, k_p.


  1. Maire Smith

    We also, desperately, need to either move the 20-week scan to 18 weeks or make serious malformation a legal reason for abortion after 20 weeks. No one faced with a nonviable baby should have to choose between being written up as having poor mental health or having to carry the baby till it dies inside them, or immediately on being born.

  2. Whio

    So what’s the delay between realising they’re pregnant and getting the abortion? I’m foreign, don’t know the rules. Can’t they just walk in and get it done on the day?

    • QoT

      Hi Whio,

      ALRANZ’s blog has a number of good factsheets on this – the short answer, though, is no. A pregnant person needs to have their abortion approved by two “certifying consultants” based on a number of factors listed in the legislation (passed in 1977), including the physical/mental health of the pregnant person but not rape or incest (these may be “taken into account”).

      This can result in a pregnant person having to see up to 5 doctors before getting the procedure, and abortion services are not provided by every District Health Board so delays due to travel/time off work can also be involved.

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