What to do

Timeframes

I am less than 9 weeks pregnant

You can have the abortion pill or a minor surgical procedure (usually awake)

I am between 9 and 14 weeks pregnant

You can have an abortion with a minor surgical procedure (usually awake)

I am between 14 and 19 weeks pregnant

You can have a surgical abortion under general anaesthesia (asleep)

I am more than 14 weeks and I have a fetal abnormality

You can have an early induction of labour

I am 20 to 24 weeks pregnant

You may be able to travel to Australia for a surgical abortion (strict criteria apply)

Have a pregnancy test

Early confirmation of a pregnancy is very important. Early abortion is safer and there are more choices available with pregnancies in the early stages.

Home pregnancy tests

  • Home pregnancy tests (also known as pregnancy diagnostic kits) can be bought from any pharmacy or supermarket.
  • These tests provide an accurate diagnosis, providing you follow the instructions carefully. Read all the steps right the way through before you start.
  • Testing kits can be quite expensive, so it may be cheaper to visit a doctor or Family Planning clinic.
  • Positive pregnancy tests should be quickly followed up by a visit to a doctor, especially if abortion is being considered..

Doctor or Family Planning Clinic

  • Family Planning has health clinics throughout New Zealand. Their services are free for New Zealand residents under 22 years.
  • Maternity care (any healthcare to do with pregnancy and newborns) is free at most doctors for all New Zealand residents and other eligible people. Refer to the Ministry of Health for eligibility.
  • A positive pregnancy test and following consultations are free. A consultation with a negative test might not be free.
  • Midwives are also able to perform pregnancy tests, but most clinics do not accept referrals from midwives.

 

Self referral to a licensed hospital/clinic

If you are feeling distressed, upset or unhappy about being pregnant and want to consider an abortion, contact an abortion provider as soon as possible. All abortion providers should allow you to contact them and make an appointment directly. Alternatively, you could discuss your situation with a GP or Family Planning clinic. 

There is no reason at this early stage to make a final decision about an abortion. All abortion providers can provide counseling for people who want it, this can be helpful in making a decision. Contacting an abortion provider does not mean that you have to have an abortion, but they are well trained in helping poeple work through their decision and process. 

Abortions providers may be based in the community or hospital. Not all DHB districts have providers.

For details of how this process works in your district, refer to the map or list of regional services.

  • Some areas of New Zealand don't have adequate abortion services. You may have to travel to another region where an abortion service is available.
  • District Health Boards (DHBs) have a legal obligation to provide adequate health care for women. Most DHBs will assist financially if an eligible pregnant person needs to be seen outside of their DHB for an abortion.

 

At the clinic/hospital

Counselling

  • There is a legal requirement to offer unbiased counselling. Depending on the clinic, this may be offered routinely or on request by you or your referring doctor.
  • Counselling can be very useful for helping you clarify issues or questions about the abortion procedure. It can also be useful for your partner or family, if they are involved in the process.
  • Early counselling can assist you to look at all options, including guardianship, adoption and single parenting.

Medical examination

A health professional in the hospital or clinic will medically assess and advise you about your suitability for abortion. This could involve:

  • Taking a full history of this pregnancy, previous pregnancies and previous medical and surgical history.
  • Looking carefully at the information already provided by you and and your referring doctor.
  • Checking results of blood tests, swabs and smears, and pregnancy ultrasound if this has been performed.
  • Performing a vaginal examination if this has not been done, or if indicated to do this again.
  • Assessing your emotional health and discussing the background to your request for an abortion.
  • Arranging further medical tests if needed.
  • Discussing what method of abortion is appropriate and/or available.
  • Completing the certification process, ensuring that you fully meet the legal criteria for termination in New Zealand, or checking certificates already provided.
  • Advising you about contraceptive choices and prescribing appropriately.

Performing the abortion

  • Each clinic will have its own operating procedure. You shouldn't hesitate to contact the clinic beforehand to ask for information if you want it.
  • In some clinics the operation may be provided on the same day as the initial appointment, others will have a first appointment one day and the termination procedure at a later date.
  • For information about types of procedure offered in New Zealand see abortion procedures.

 

After the abortion

The physical effects of an abortion will vary depending on the method used and your own health. For more information refer to the different types of procedure.

The emotions of going through an abortion are also very variable from person to person. All providers offer free counselling after the abortion if requested.