The Ministry has a programme of work in place to deliver the transformation of abortion services.
The overall goal of the work programme is to ensure accessible, equitable, and quality abortion services across New Zealand Aotearoa. This work is led by the Regulatory Assurance team, within the Health System Improvement and Innovation directorate.
The passing of the Abortion Legislation Act 2020, and the subsequent decriminalisation of abortion in Aotearoa,provided opportunity to address inequity of access . This includes increasing access to timely and equitable abortion care, and giving more of a voice to Māori, Pacific, rainbow, and disabled communities to create services that better meet the needs of these groups.
This is a significant programme of work with several workstreams:
- stakeholder engagement, communication, and business as usual reporting
- policy, standards and regulations
- service improvement
- workforce and training
- data collection and reporting
- funding and accountability, and medicines
- law and ethics
The amended legislation contains several statutory obligations for the Ministry of Health that are being addressed through the planned work programme. These include:
- ensuring that pregnant individuals can self-refer to abortion services
- taking reasonable steps to ensure that abortion and related counselling services are available throughout New Zealand
- periodically reviewing whether there is timely and equitable access to abortion services and related counselling services and making any recommendations necessary to improve timely and equitable access
- compiling and making available a list of the names and contact details of abortion service providers in New Zealand, if they have no objection
- publishing information about abortion services and related counselling services.
The Ministry is also required to collect and report on provision of abortion services. More information is available on the Abortion Reporting page.
Engagement with key stakeholders
The Ministry of Health continues to work with abortion service providers, non-governmental organisations, general practitioners and other health practitioners to increase their knowledge of the new legislation and what it means in practice,as well as updating sector stakeholders on the abortion services work programme and new initiatives.
The Ministry of Health aims to support the sector to provide equitable access to sexual and reproductive health services for pregnant individuals in New Zealand.