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Module 12: Termination of pregnancy

There may be a time during her reproductive years when a woman may feel that she cannot continue with her pregnancy- this may occur for many reasons.  It is likely that health care professionals working in General Practice or Women's Health may be faced with requests for termination of pregnancy. This section will look at the legal situation for abortion services in New Zealand, what is required for the referral process and discuss the possible risks of having an abortion. In countries where abortion is legal and provided by health care professionals, it is very rarely associated with serious morbidity or mortality. In countries where abortion is not legally available, unsafe abortions are a leading cause of maternal death.

We will mainly be looking at first trimester abortion - if you want to get further information about this or 2nd trimester abortion have a look at the appropriate chapter in your "Introduction to Obstetrics and Gynaecology". We have already looked at a legislation slides in the concepts in contraception section and you might want to also revisit them here


Following this section you will be able to:

  • Discuss the legislation around abortion services in New Zealand
  • Explain the different types of first trimester procedures that are available
  • Outline the investigations necessary for the referral process
  • Discuss the possible risks of an abortion


Contraception, Steralisation and Abortion Act    

Annual Report of the Abortion Supervisory Committee (this report is a statutory requriement of the Committee and is tabled in Parliament each year, hence it is on the Parliament website).

Abortion statistics - Statistics New Zealand

Farquhar C, &, Roberts H. Introduction to Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fourth edition. Universtiy of Auckland. Chapter 20, Abortion pp203-207. 

Epsom Day Unit Factsheets. Available under "T" at

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