On 24th March 2020 New Zealand changed the law to decriminalise abortion, align the regulation of abortion services with other health services and modernise the overarching legal framework for abortion services in New Zealand.
Under the amended legal framework, the Ministry of Health (the Ministry) became the kaitiaki of abortion services in New Zealand. Oversight of abortion services was transferred to the Ministry from the Ministry of Justice (via the Abortion Supervisory Committee).
These interim standards specify a set of standards that the Ministry expects all abortion providers to comply with to ensure New Zealand women can access safe and effective abortion services. Their content captures specific standards from existing core health and disability standards and Standards of Care for Women Requesting an Abortion in Aotearoa New Zealand, as published by the recently disestablished Abortion Supervisory Committee.
The purpose of these interim standards is to provide guidance for the health sector, pending the Ministry of Health implementing a more formal engagement and consultation process, in partnership with clinicians, women service users, and service providers. As work is currently progressing to update New Zealand’s core health and disability standards, the intention is to review these interim abortion service standards to ensure they align with the health sector’s updated mandatory health and disability standards by the end of 2020. This will be followed by work to develop more detailed sector specific clinical and service delivery guidance.