Te Whatu Ora and Manatū Hauora have the overall goal of accessible, equitable, and quality abortion services across Aotearoa New Zealand. A key part of this is increasing the availability of first-trimester abortions in primary care and community locations, as this will help reduce the need for people to travel to access abortion services.

Who can provide abortion services

A wider range of registered health practitioners can now provide abortions. This includes doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners and registered nurses. 

Registered health practitioners can only perform surgical abortions or prescribe medicines for medical abortions if:

  • it is a health service permitted within their scope of practice
  • the practitioner holds a current practicing certificate
  • the practitioner has the necessary qualifications, skills, competency and resources to provide abortion services in accordance with Manatū Hauora's New Zealand Aotearoa Abortion Clinical Guideline.

Changes that support abortion services in primary and community locations

New Zealand Abortion Clinical Guideline to support health practitioners to deliver consistent, quality care

This guideline, published by Manatū Hauora, provides best practice clinical guidance for health professionals on abortion care in the Aotearoa New Zealand context.

The guideline replaces the Interim Standards for Abortion Services and is intended for use by health practitioners who provide or are looking to provide abortion care and cover pre-, during and post-abortion specific content.

Removing community restrictions on subsidised abortion medicines

Medicines for early medical abortion (EMA) are now subsidised via a PSO (practitioner supply order) and direct prescribing to give primary and community-based abortion providers access to these medicines so they can provide EMA services.

Supporting funding pathways – further work is underway

Manatū Hauora has a Crown Funding Arrangement with Te Whatu Ora and an accompanying Service Coverage Schedule (SCS) that details specific service requirements. Abortion service provision information has recently been updated in the SCS to place an expectation on Te Whatu Ora to fund first-trimester abortion within primary care settings.

This provides an opportunity for primary care providers to deliver local, closer to home services for patients seeking abortion care in the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Te Whatu Ora continues to provide abortion care in hospital settings where appropriate. This includes cases of ectopic pregnancy or other complications for first-trimester abortions, second-trimester and later abortions, and in areas with limited primary care coverage.