More equitable abortion care and support available from today

  • Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

The Government has launched a new telehealth service today that will see women in their first 10 weeks of pregnancy able to access medication for an early medical abortion over the phone, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall has announced.

“People seeking an abortion will have better access to care from today.

“The free nationwide abortion telehealth service DECIDE will connect callers to a health practitioner over the phone who can help guide someone through the process of an early medical abortion.

“After consulting with the practitioner if a person wishes to proceed they can then choose whether to have medicines couriered to them or to pick them up from a supporting pharmacy.

“This will significantly improve healthcare for those who live in rural areas, have concerns about privacy or don’t have a medical professional they feel comfortable seeing.

“People who contact the service will be connected with a clinician who specialises in abortion care and is willing to help.

“This service will be available 24/7 and complements already existing in-person services.

“From today the abortion medicine mifepristone becomes available on prescription. This means that people can get a prescription from their health practitioner and take it to the pharmacy to get it filled.

“This is a huge step towards normalising and improving access to abortion care and I continue to be encouraged by the dedication of health professionals delivering this vital service.

“This service is part of the Government’s commitment to improve women’s health services and part of the wider health reforms to ensure consistent access to care across the country,” Dr Verrall said.

Anyone can get in touch by calling 0800 DECIDE (0800 332 433).

Notes to editors:

The first phase included free phone based support through the 0800 DECIDE phone line and new website with abortion information. The second phase launched in July 2022 and included virtual abortion counselling and 24/7 clinical support post-abortion.

DECIDE is just one of the initiatives that the 2020 abortion law reform allowed. Further work to support providers and those accessing abortion services has also been triggered by the introduction of the Safe Areas amendment in March this year, and training to support health professionals to provide first trimester abortion care will be available by mid-November this year.

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