New Zealand Family Planning expands its abortion business

With the passing of the Abortion Legislation Act, New Zealand Family Planning has expanded its abortion services.

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In late 2020 Whangarei Family Planning clinic widened its services to provide early medical abortions.

The Charitable Trust which unashamedly proclaims they “are experts in sexual and reproductive health” has been providing early medical abortions at their Tauranga clinic since 2013. 

At the beginning of the millennium, Family Planning played an instrumental role in the introduction of the abortion pill, RU-486.  More recently the organisation was influential in the movement to legalise abortion on demand up to birth.

The Association’s position statement regarding abortion states that they work “to ensure equitable access to high-quality abortion services without cost, delay, or judgement, including advocating for expanded provision, training, and research.” 

Family Planning is heavily funded by the New Zealand Government. In the 2019/2020 financial year more than 13 million of their 16 million plus revenue was received through government contracts.

With the abolition of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, abortion facilities are no longer required to be licensed.   With 33 clinics and 32 school-linked clinics throughout the nation, the Association has a wide ability to expand its provision of Early Medical Abortion.

As women do not need to stay at the clinic in order to complete their medical abortion, many will be aborting at home where they have no professional support, having to make critical calls about their medical condition and safety themselves. These mothers may also see the remains of their child causing emotional trauma.

Family Life International is particularly concerned for young pregnant women who will place their trust in the Family Planning nurses at school-linked clinics. There is no cooling down period, no requirement for counselling, or the need to present life-affirming alternatives. The potential for young women to be handed the abortion pill much like a panadol, and without fully understanding the consequences, is a very real and concerning possibility.

In 2013, the former President of the American Planned Parenthood Association, Cecile Richards spoke at Family Planning’s conference held at Te Papa in Wellington.  Abortion is a core business for Planned Parenthood.  Family Life International NZ believes that this collaboration between the two organisations was an opportune moment to set in motion a plan for NZ Family Planning to expand its services, mirroring its American counterpart.

What is early medical abortion?

An early medical abortion (EMA) can take place up to 9 weeks of pregnancy.  It is performed by administering two drugs within 48 hours of each other. 

The first drug, Mifepristone (brand name Mifegyne), blocks the effect of progesterone, the hormone needed to prepare the womb for implantation and provide essential nutrients to the growing embryo. 

Up to 48 hours later, and if the abortion has not already been completed, Misoprostol is administered.  Misoprostol is a prostaglandin that causes contractions with the effect of expelling the pre-born child. This particular drug is used “off-label” and is not registered in New Zealand for use in abortion.

Complications arising from an early medical abortion can include infection, hemorrhage, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and in up to 5% of cases an incomplete abortion that requires a follow-up surgical abortion.

After taking the first pill some women regret their choice.  It is quite possible to reverse the effects of the first pill by taking a regimen of progesterone. 

The medical abortion reversal protocol is most effective within 24 hours of taking the first abortion pill, but can still be successful up to 72 hours later. can assist women find assistance, including in New Zealand.  Up to 68% of pregnancies have been saved through abortion pill reversal. 

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