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Abortions by courier

Wairarapa women can access abortion services during lockdown. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

ALEYNA MARTINEZ
[email protected]

Wairarapa women needing to access abortion services during the covid-19 lockdown can now have the procedure in the safety of their home bubbles if they have had an ultrasound scan first and suit the guidelines for ‘telemedicine abortion care’.

The service was made available to Kiwi women due to a law change that came into play just days before the country moved into covid-19 alert level four.

Not all district health boards have opted in for the service which involves an in-depth phone consultation with a doctor, but the Wairarapa District Health Board has.

Wairarapa Women’s Clinic abortion service provider Dr Simon Snook said women who want to have the medical procedure at home during the lockdown must also fit other criteria to access “Telemedicine”.

Among other clinical guidelines, one requirement is to have a strong support system at home.

Women must also be “absolutely sure of her pregnancy dates”.

Terry Bellamak, the national president for Abortion Rights Aotearoa said the phone procedure had been used for seven years in Iowa, and had proven safe and effective, with complications occurring in less than 0.5 per cent of early medical abortions provided that way.

Bellamak said health practitioners were able to “provide all relevant advice, offer counselling, and obtain informed consent over the phone, and courier the pills to the patient”.

“This allows the patient to stay within their bubble. For people who live in remote areas, it saves them a long trip by car”.

Before the law changed, early medical abortions required two trips to the clinic to take the two medicines, taken 24 to 48 hours apart on clinic premises.

“The most dangerous part of the abortion was literally driving to and from the clinic”, Bellamak said.

Telemedicine uses what doctors call a “medical procedure” which entails taking pills that induce a miscarriage.

Having provided the service in Wairarapa for 15 years, Snook said “both pills and surgery have an excellent safety profile”.

Snook said he performed about 100 abortions a year in Wairarapa and half of women preferred surgery and half of women preferred medical.

“Women should have as much choice and the least amount of barriers in the way when seeking abortion care,” Snook said.

Abortion services in the Wairarapa region are provided by The Women’s Clinic.

All women from the region considering abortion will be assessed at The Women’s Clinic.

The Women’s Clinic also offers privately funded medical and surgical abortion services to non-Wairarapa residents.

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