The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners has published its submission on the Abortion Legislation Bill.

23 March 2020 update: Abortion Legislation Bill passed into law

On 23 March 2020 the Abortion Legislation Bill was passed into law, removing the procedure from the Crimes Act and making it a health issue between a woman and her doctor. Read the full update for information on changes that will effect GPs.

The College’s submission

The College prepared its submission based on feedback from its members. As expected, we received a wide range of views on abortion and the College’s submission does reflect these views.

The College makes no comment on the morality or ethics of abortion – we consider this to be a matter for individual members’ own consciences, within the framework of the law. Our members hold a wide range of views on abortion and the College’s submission should not be taken as endorsement or rejection of abortion.

Our recommendations

  1. supports removing abortion from the Crimes Act; 
  2. recommends the proposed law states that only appropriately qualified medical practitioners may perform surgical abortions; 
  3. recommends any statutory test should occur earlier than 20 weeks pregnancy; 
  4. recommends there should be a gestational limit after which time a woman could not obtain an abortion of a viable foetus;
  5. advocates that conscientious objectors should have full employment protections, without exception; 
  6. recommends safe areas should be established for all facilities and should also include protection from online harassment; 
  7. recommends the Minister of Health be given the authority to establish temporary safe areas while the Order in Council process occurs; 
  8. recommends abortion counsellors should be independent, registered practitioners; 
  9. advocates that priority must be given to widening the choice, access and funding for contraception and sterilisation options for women and men, to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies; and 
  10. recommends anonymised abortion data should be provided to the Health Safety & Quality Commission so it can report national variations in access and uptake, for the purpose of improving equitable access to services. It is essential that the data collected protects the identities of women, practitioners providing abortion services and referring general practitioners. 

Read our submission to the Abortion Legislation Committee, 19 September 2019.

Further information

For any questions about this submission, please contact

Read our College submission

Read our College submission to the Abortion Legislation Commitee.

Read here