Making abortion dearer

21 Apr

by Terry B

Right to Life New Zealand talks a good game. Its website talks about “protecting women” from abortion. It says “abortion is violence against women” and frets about women “left with a lifetime of sorrow, guilt and regret.”

But their alleged concern for women is a lie. They demonstrated as much with their action in the High Court, seeking a judgment that would deny women access to a safer, cheaper, and less traumatic medical abortion in the first nine weeks. Perhaps they figure if a woman is going to get an abortion, she should suffer for it as much as possible.

With this action Right to Life has brought New Zealand closer to the day when the government has to decide what kind of a country we are. Are we a country that decides scientific questions on the basis of peer-reviewed science, and medical questions on the basis of evidence-based medicine? Or do we pander to people who want to force other people to live by their religious beliefs whether those other people share them or not?

For almost 40 years successive governments have allowed abortion to remain a crime while doctors committed to women’s bodily autonomy have dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s to make abortion more or less accessible. But government’s cowardly dance of avoidance is becoming untenable.

If the High Court decides in Right to Life’s favour, will the government allow women to receive sub-standard abortion care relative to other Western democracies? Will it allow tax dollars to be wasted on surgical abortions that could have been accomplished medically? How much is the government willing to sacrifice to pander to the religious right?

Abortion Access Goes Back to Court

9 Apr

By Alison M

(Cross-posted from The Hand Mirror)

What if you had a way of providing an essential medical service that was safer, cheaper, less traumatic for patients, and meant they didn’t have to travel more than an hour each way to access it? Well, if it was for anything other than abortion, you’d be its champion. But this is abortion, and now the pioneering Tauranga Family Planning clinic, which has been providing early medication abortions in the Bay of Plenty since 2013, is under threat by anti-abortion court action that could worsen New Zealand’s already poor record on abortion access.

The court action by the Catholic anti-choice group Right to Life is a direct result of our now 38-year-old abortion laws, which criminalise abortion and continue to block the use of newer and better ways of providing it. And it’s not the first time our backward laws have been recruited for the purpose of banning or restricting abortion access. A 7-year case by the same group seeking to wind back access went all the way to the Supreme Court, where in 2012 Right to Life lost by a frighteningly narrow 2-3 ruling. The fact that abortion access in New Zealand was one justice away from being severely restricted in 2012 should have been a wake-up call that our criminalised abortion laws need urgent change. But, again, this is abortion and if there’s one thing (almost) all politicians agree on, it’s that they’d rather do nothing than wade into a debate about reproductive justice.

So nothing happened, and so here we are again, with abortion access back in the dock. The implications of this case are significant (more on that below), and underscore the urgent need for supporters of reproductive choice and access to press politicians to take action to give our fragile abortion access a secure foundation.

MPs have been on notice for decades that our laws are barely able to function: the Abortion Supervisory Committee has said so, the courts have said so, even the United Nations has said so. And still there is silence. To quote Prime Minister John Key during the 2014 election campaign: “I’m opposed to changing the law … I think the law broadly works.” And that’s been the standard line from the abortion liberals in Parliament for decades now – apart, that is, from a few stand-outs in the Green Party, which became the first-ever major party to adopt a pro-choice platform in 2014, some impressive Young Labour activism and a bold stand in 2010 by former Labour MP Steve Chadwick.

Importing U.S.-Style TRAP Laws

The new case at hand was publicly announced on Sunday, when Right to Life said it was headed to the High Court to challenge the Abortion Supervisory Committee over granting a licence to Family Planning to provide early medication abortions at its Tauranga clinic. (Family Planning is only an “interested party” in this case, and it will be the Crown Law Office that plays defence.)

Though we haven’t yet seen Right to Life’s formal arguments, the media release and RTL’s previous posts about the Tauranga clinic indicate this effort is straight from the American TRAP law playbook (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers). In this case, RTL plans to argue that our law requires any institution providing abortion have “adequate surgical and other facilities” for the performance of safe abortions. As even RTL acknowledges, when the 1977 Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act was enacted, there were no medical abortions. Since Family Planning’s Tauranga clinic isn’t a hospital or a surgical facility, I’m assuming RTL will claim it doesn’t have the “adequate surgical and other facilities” needed to hold an abortion licence under the law so the ASC shouldn’t have given it one. (A hearing will take place at the High Court in Wellington on 2 June starting at 10 a.m. According to the court, it should be open to the public.)

It’s important to explain a bit about what early medication abortion is. At the Tauranga clinic, medication abortions are available only up until 9 weeks of pregnancy (63 days), and involve bringing on a miscarriage using two medications usually taken 48 hours apart, Mifegyne or Mifepristone (formerly known as RU486) and Misoprostol (also known as Cytotec). You can read more here from Family Planning itself about what an early medication abortion entails. It’s also worth a reminder that people seeking abortions in the Bay of Plenty – as elsewhere – muststill meet the requirements of our criminal statutes: Before you can get an abortion, two doctors (certifying consultants) must agree that your case meets one of the half dozen criteria listed in the Crimes Act.

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Media Release: 2015 Prochoice Gathering

23 Feb


MEDIA RELEASE   22 February 2015                                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALRANZ to Host 21-22 March Pro-Choice Gathering in Wellington

 The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) announced today it would be holding a pro-choice gathering on Saturday and Sunday, March 21-22, in Wellington. The gathering will cover a range of topics relating to the politics of abortion while providing an opportunity for pro-choice activists to come together and share ideas.

ALRANZ President, Dr Morgan Healey, said, “ALRANZ helped to organise a similar event in 2011, which was a great occasion for awareness raising and networking, so we thought it was time to hold another one. The event will provide a chance for anyone interested in abortion – from service delivery to law reform – to listen to amazing speakers, engage with like-minded people and to have a bit of fun”.

Organisers are still finalising the schedule of sessions and speakers. However, several experts and activists in the field have already been confirmed.

“ALRANZ is really honoured to have confirmed some fantastic speakers, including Marama Davidson, Gill Greer, Dr Simon Snook and Jackie Edmond, to name just a few. We really hope people will consider joining us in the conversation and brain-storm about where we can take the movement over the next few years,” Healey said.

ALRANZ encourages people to register for the event by 8 March. People interested in attending are asked to pay as much as they feel this opportunity it worth to them.

“We encourage people to spread the word. Anyone interested in abortion or reproductive health is welcome to attend. Given the sensitivity of the topics open for discussion, the organisers will be looking to create a safe space for respectful, non-judgmental and thoughtful discussion. We ask all attendees to bear this in mind, ” Healey said.

For more details on the event and how to register, visit:




Why We Need to Talk About Later Term Abortions

22 Jan

On the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the United States House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would make all abortions after 20 weeks illegal. This is likely just a symbolic gesture on the part of the anti-choice, anti-woman Republican establishment; a reassertion of their general disdain for women’s access to necessary health care, like abortion, which few of us need reminding of (also see recent research on the increased maternal mortality in the US and its link to anti-choice policies over the last few years). Why focus on combating climate change, growing economic inequalities, the mistreatment of immigrants and racially driven police violence against black people (yes #blacklivesmatter), when controlling pregnant bodies is so much easier?

Beyond the sarcasm, the statements that many anti-choice Republicans make in defense of such policies, often based on spurious and inaccurate medical science (i.e. fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks, which isn’t true), serve only to perpetuate stigma around later term abortions. Gestational limits have a tendency to draw lines between ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ terminations, redrawing the point at which the state’s interest in ‘protecting’ life trumps that of a woman’s sovereignty and autonomy over her body (acknowledging that a person’s bodily autonomy might already be contested depending on the individual’s raced, classed, gendered body). Legislation, like the one that is likely to pass the House, often occur because politicians do not care to listen to pregnant people’s stories about why they may need or choose a termination after 20 weeks.

So let’s talk 20 weeks… Here in Aotearoa/New Zealand, under the Crimes Act, abortion is legal under certain grounds (with the consent of two certifying consultants) until 20 weeks. At 20 weeks and beyond, the ability to access care is severely constrained and is limited to instances where it is necessary to save the life of the woman or girl or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health [Crimes Act 1961; 187A(3)]. The Green Party, which is the only political party with a policy on abortion (so not having a go at them specifically), would maintain a 20 week gestational limit even after removing abortion from the Crimes Act. The question is – why? Medically, this is an arbitrary limit – the fetus is not viable at 20 weeks; it can’t feel pain; and while there are increased risks/complications associated with later term abortions, they are still much safer than giving birth. So why is 20 weeks a seemingly acceptable limitation? And why does 20 weeks get so much airtime when abortions at this stage make up such a small percentage overall (i.e. this is a non-issue issue)?

Before leaping into some thoughts on why later term abortions remain contentious, let’s review some facts about abortions after the first trimester:

  • Globally, abortions after the first trimester (greater than 13 weeks) account for approximately 10% of all abortions (except for South Africa, which is around 25%)[1]. This has been a static number over the last 2-3 decades, remaining relatively stable despite improvements in contraception and a trend in many Western countries of decreasing abortion rates.
  • In the United States, of the 11% post 12 weeks, 1.8% are performed between 18 and 20 weeks and 1.2% are [2]21 weeks or greater.
  • In Aotearoa/New Zealand, where only 56% of abortions are performed before 10 weeks, those beyond 14 weeks still only accounted for 6% of abortions (790 abortions out of 14,073; see release of 2013 statistics).
  • In 2012, of the abortions performed in Aotearoa/New Zealand during the second trimester, only 0.4% (66 out of 14, 745) were performed over 20 weeks.

These numbers are not meant as a judgment about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ abortions or to suggest that strict laws equate to fewer later term terminations (anecdotal stories suggest that in some instances pregnant people are instead forced to travel to Australia for care.) However, the figures question the focus on drawing a particular line in the sand – , 20 weeks?

I think there are two reasons for this, both of which require some considered thought and engagement: the cultural imaginary (aided by ever advancing technology) of a more ‘human’ looking fetus makes later term abortions seem ‘icky’; and the fact that pro-choice advocates often use the later diagnosis of foetal abnormalities (typically around 20 weeks) as a rationale for extending limits, which raises some very fraught concerns about the value of dis/abled people’s lives.

These are not insurmountable reasons to finding some common ground or contesting the need for gestational limits more broadly. However, they do require sincere and open dialogue amongst pro-choice activists ourselves (as we all don’t agree on limits and where these should sit – 20, 24, 26 weeks?) and with those who support disability rights, but who are uncomfortable or against abortions performed in response to a fetal diagnosis. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, a lot more work needs to be done in this area. Trying to bridge the real or assumed divides intra- and inter- groups through a willingness to listen and respectfully engage would be a great place to start.


[1] This figure comes from a lecture given by Dr. Dan Grossman, Vice President Research for Ibis Reproductive Health in November 2014 as part of the open online course Abortion: Quality Care and Pubic Health Implications. Grossman also noted that post first trimester abortions are very safe and carry some additional abortion-related risks associated with the later gestational age, but still being safer than full term pregnancy and delivery.

[2] These figures were presented as part the same open online course in a lecture by Dr Eleanor Drey, the Medical Director of the Women’s Options Center of San Francisco General Hospital and an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences of the University of California, San Francisco, on abortion after the first trimester.



Media Release: Support for NCW Law Reform Remit

11 Oct


11 October 2014              FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ALRANZ Backs National Council of Women Remit on Abortion Law Reform; Urges Govt. Action

A remit calling for abortion law reform up for debate at this weekend’s National Council of Women conference adds to a growing chorus of voices that the new government should not ignore, Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ president, Dr. Morgan Healey, said today.

This government has the chance to act on an important issue that has been neglected for far too long, she said. Our outdated criminalised abortion laws have already been flagged by the U.N., and states and countries with similar laws are, one by one, changing them, Dr. Healey said.

“It’s curious that a government so committed to getting rid of regulations won’t address one of the most offensive statutes of all,” she said.

Dr. Healey pointed out that the Australian state of Tasmania decriminalised abortion last year, and Victoria did so in 2008. Meanwhile, in the UK, a meeting next week at the Houses of Parliament will discuss ‘whether, in the 21st century, we can find a better way to regulate abortion than through an antiquated Victorian law’.

“We already know there’s a better way to regulate abortion – and that’s to treat it as a health matter, not a criminal one,” she said.

The remit, from NCW’s Auckland branch, reads: “That NCWNZ request the government to review abortion law and practice with a view to simplifying it and ensuring a woman’s right to choose.” {ed update: The remit passed later on Saturday with a good majority; the June NCW circular (pdf) contains the remits and rationale.}

ALRANZ, which is a member of NCW, fully supports the remit, and hopes its passage will continue the discussion that began during the election campaign, when the Green Party adopted policy to remove abortion from the Crimes Act, Dr. Healey said.

The rationale for the remit urges NCW, as an organisation which has represented women for more than 120 years, to “take a leadership role in securing a review of the law, and clearly [state] a position in favour of legal and practical arrangements that give women the bodily autonomy they have in regard to other medical and personal decisions.”

For more information about ALRANZ visit


Dr. Morgan Healey

ALRANZ National President 

ALRANZ: 021-082-76474



Sept. 28: Global Day of Action in NZ

28 Sep


By Morgan Healey, ALRANZ President

On the 28th of September 2014, ALRANZ celebrates the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. This is a campaign that began two decades ago in Latin America and the Caribbean and has gone global, with activists around the world drawing attention to restrictive and dangerous abortion laws in their countries. This year’s focus is on stigma and challenging the shame and silence that so often accompanies abortion, even when it is legal.

As the organisers of the 28th of September, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) in partnership with the International Campaign for Women’s Right to Safe Abortion and La Campaña 28 LAC, stated:

The stigma surrounding abortion is complex and pervasive, as well as produced, reproduced and reinforced at individual, community, institutional, cultural, and legal levels. Entire communities stereotype, ostracize and discriminate against individuals who need and seek abortions, as well as women human rights defenders attempting to help individuals to access this human right.


It is our job as reproductive rights and justice activists to join in the global chorus to eradicate stigma – not just today but every day. This is not necessarily an easy task. Pervasive is an apt word as stigma manifests itself in subtle and insidious ways.

One example is the act of conscientious objections, where medical professionals are allowed to refuse treatment or care as the result of their own moral objections to abortion. Too often the focus is on the medical professional and their ability to exercise their right to not perform a medical procedure that they disapprove of. But what happens to the pregnant person forced to find help and assistance elsewhere? Is their care delayed? Does it create further stress and anxiety? Does it leave them more vulnerable in an unsafe relationship or environment? And how does this reinforce stigma?

This is the crux of the stigma issue – it not only erects barriers to care but it leaves women feeling as if their choices are amoral, wrong and detrimental. They carry the weight not only of their own lived experiences and the consequence of their choices, but also the gendered expectations of societies that associate ‘womanhood’ with ‘motherhood’. Being defined by your anatomy, which is also harmful to people who do not associate their sexed body with a certain gender (i.e. those who operate outside of and challenge cisgender culture), allows for the constant surveillance and policing of their reproductive choices. Stigma happens at both the macro and micro levels, with the (re)production of discourses that shame women while ensuring they self-regulate their actions, mostly by silencing their abortion experiences.

Turning back to conscientious objection, a false dichotomy is created whereby the virtuous doctor, governed by their ‘moral’ principles is juxtaposed with the errant pregnant person. This power imbalance is important in the perpetuation of stigma and the associate of abortion with shame and silence – it allows those in professions that are often revered and looked up the ability to define the line between good and bad. It provides a legal basis for discrimination and, as Joyce Arthur and Christian Fialla have argued for dishonourable disobedience.

This is one of the reasons the My Decision project is so important and why ALRANZ has chosen to focus on it for the 2014 global day of action – it names and allows for self-identification of those who would refuse care. It is shifting the discourse from a focus on women traversing the public health sphere to search for care and instead calling on medical professionals to provide information in relation to the reproductive health care they provide. It seeks to break down the barriers pregnant people face when they look to access these services and puts the onus back onto those who would object to be open and transparent about their beliefs.

myDecision_flyerFbTile copy

My Decision alone will not end stigma, but it is a vital tool in the attempt to counter the impact. Please join us today in trying to dismantle abortion stigma.

If you would like to be involved in or want more information on My Decision go to

For information on the 28th of September campaign go to

Check out this media release quoting Family Planning and ALRANZ’s Morgan Healey: NZ Abortion Legislation Restrictive.




Suffrage Day Book Launch

18 Sep


Vote Choice: The Final Round-Up

15 Sep

vote-for-choice-round_1To round off our Vote Choice series, this week we profile the remaining party leaders; a veritable mix bag regarding their position on abortion ranging from the Green’s recent policy on decriminalisation to the not-quite-sure to the status quo – it’s a conscientious vote stupid! OK, so might have oversold it as a range; it is pretty much Greens with a policy to decriminalise, and the rest of the parties who don’t have any policies on the issue (although there were positive murmurings from Internet as posted a few weeks back).

As we have said before – broken record, we know – a conscientious vote makes politicians’ opinions even more important. They have a conscience that will steer their vote. So shouldn’t you as voter know where they stand? We think so (Maggie Barry not so much – yup had to take a bit of a swipe after she flat out refused to provide ALRANZ with her stance at the Women’s Election Forum in Auckland).

The Green Party – the leaders in abortion law reform.

We have written elsewhere about our excitement about the Green’s policy on law reform, which is why they haven’t featured in this series before (or we saved the best for last!). The Green Party is streets above in terms of having an explicit policy on decriminalising abortion. This has been contextualised within their party’s wider women’s health policy, which has some great stuff on disability rights, sexuality and reproduction.

The voting history of co-leaders Dr Russell Norman and Metiria Turei would suggest they are also personally supportive (although that does not matter as much now because they have a policy to comply with – yea!).

Turei has more of a voting record than Norman, who was only in Parliament for the last vote on the newest Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) member. Turei is unsurprisingly checks across our board – voting against any attempts by conservative MPs to make parental notification mandatory for under 16s and against anti choice appointments to the ASC.

Te Ururoa Flavell /Māori Party- The unknown quantity

The new leader of the Māori Party, Te Ururoa Flavell, has a mixed voting recording on abortion (he didn’t answer Family First’s question on either parental notification or decriminalisation abortion, which highlights again the willingness of politicians to not publicly state their opinion on an issue that would be a conscious vote). We do know that former leader, Tariana Turia, was not a proponent of law reform and we hope Flavell will not take her lead.

By way of some background, in 2011 three Bay of Plenty ALRANZ members met with Flavell to discuss then MP Steve Chadwick’s proposed private member’s bill to decriminalise abortion, and try to enlist his backing. At that meeting, ALRANZ didn’t get a commitment to support decriminalisation, and our members’ feeling was that Flavell probably tends conservative, primarily because of cultural concerns (he spent time on the matter of the whanau raising children born after unplanned or unwanted pregnancies), though he also asked lots of good questions and listened to their answers.

Flavell is two for two in voting liberal and conservative on abortion-related topics. He has voted twice to appoint Dr Ate Moala to the ASC (once in 2007 and again in 2011), a known anti-choice doctor. However, he then voted against the appointment of another anti choice doctor Dr Peter Hall and then voted to appoint Rosy Fenwicke, Patricia Allan and Linda Holloway to the ASC. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really tell us much…

Peter Dunne/United Future – not sure we are entirely united on the future

As part of this year’s election (and some of the great resources available to voters to gauge candidate’s stance on the issues) we asked the following question on Ask Me:

Do you support the removal of abortion from the Crimes Act?”

Only one party responded and that was United Future, or more specifically, Damian Light, a candidate for United Future. He said the following:

“We don’t have a policy on this, so it would be a conscience vote for United Future MPs”.

A return to the good ole conscientious vote… Since Peter Dunne is the only United Future MP, let’s have a look at his record… He has checks as a liberal for all votes he has been there for, except for voting in favour of parental notification in 2004. This aligns with Family First’s polling of Dunne, who gets a happy face for parental notification but a sad face for decriminalising abortion. Bit lackluster, we know.

And that is all from us on the major political parties and their leaders. Obviously abortion is not the defining issue in this campaign, but with some strong supporters along with the middle of the roaders we hold onto hope that change is never more than an election cycle away.

In 2014, Vote Choice.

VOTING RECORD: Click here to download a pdf of our “MPs Voting Record Since 1990

Click here for all the posts in the Vote Choice Series.

[Authorised by Dr. Morgan Healey, President, Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, P.O. Box 28-008, Wellington, 6150]




Vote Choice: ACT’s Jamie Whyte – a ‘Narrow’ Ally?

2 Sep

voteForChoice_Page_3This week, the Vote Choice series looks at Dr Jamie Whyte, the leader of the ACT party, and his views on abortion and decriminalisation. A google search of Whyte and abortion provides little in the way of his opinion but does provide an interesting array of articles to read, many from his lecturing days in the UK and/or other academic responses to some of his philosophical arguments. So it was back again to Family First’s Value Your Vote page for information on where Whyte stands in relation to abortion law reform (thanking them is becoming a bit too common for comfort, just saying).

It has always been ALRANZ’s understanding that despite the libertarian positioning of the party that it was generally anti-choice. Possibly this perception has been clouded by Andy Moore’s former role as an office-holder of ACT on Campus. However, Whyte seems to be setting a different tone in relation to abortion law reform.

Whyte received sad faces from Family First, in the following areas:

  • Jamie_Whyte_ScreengrabSupports decriminalization of abortion with note that this should be “subject to a restriction regarding the age of the foetus”.
  • Opposes “informed consent” for abortion (which is usually anti code for telling pregnant people medically unverified lies – e.g. an abortion could increase the risk of breast cancer – something that has no basis in science!)
  • Undecided on the right to life of the unborn child, which he caveats with the comment: Which unborn child are you talking about? A 6 week old foetus or a 37 week old foetus? The difference is important.

ALRANZ would also agree. There is a difference between a fully viable baby at 37 weeks and one still in an embryonic state at 6 weeks. Although it is always good to point out the obvious that no doctor would perform a ‘termination’ at 37 weeks so this is a bit of a false dichotomy; but one that might explain his comment of only supporting decriminalisation in relation to restrictions on the age of the fetus. He may sympathise with the Greens’ policy, which would only allow abortion on request up to 20 weeks?

Where we disagree (and we’d be interested to know his rationale for this) is on parental notification. He would support attempts to change the law to require parental notification for abortions where the pregnant person is under 17.

All in all Jamie Whyte, and perhaps even the party itself, would appear to be a potential ally for a very narrowly focused abortion law reform effort. Out of those ACT candidates that responded to Family First (5 out of 12, including Whyte), three support law reform (Whyte, John Thompson and Stephen Berry), while David Seymour is undecided[1] and Ian Cummings oppose it.

However, taking a wider reproductive justice view, and given ACT’s opposition to free healthcare  — its policy (pdf) says “ACT does not support free healthcare as this results in the provision of a service which is not valued” — as well as its “one country, one law” attacks on Māori, any alliance over decriminalisation would likely break down over treatment of marginalised groups and access to abortion services. It’s no use decriminalising abortion if access to services, as well as to health-care in general (not to mention income equality) — are reduced through other means.


[1] Seymour’s comment was “The current law is unclear and should be clarified so that the law is in line with actual practice and so that all cases are treated equally. Such a law would be a conscience vote and I would be guided by my electorate if elected. There seems to be some potential there.

 [Authorised by Dr. Morgan Healey, President, Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, P.O. Box 28-008, Wellington, 6150]



Margaret Sparrow’s Report from Lisbon

27 Aug

I attended two conferences in Lisbon May/June 2014

13th Congress of the European Society of Contraception and Reproductive Health (ESC) held in Lisbon, Portugal 28-31 May 2014. Theme: Challenges in Sexual and Reproductive Health.

This was a well organised congress with 2,400 registrants including several from Australia and three from New Zealand. An interesting feature was the electronic display of posters. Six separate screens enabled six readers to access all of the 251 poster presentations on user-friendly touch screens and these were also made available on the internet to conference participants.

Dr Ellen Wiebe of Canada demonstrating a new cervical cap being developed.

Dr Ellen Wiebe of Canada demonstrating a new cervical cap being developed.

The opening address was historical: “Introducing the Dutch Cap: Dr Aletta Jacobs, first woman medical doctor in Holland” by Professor Saskia Wieringa, University of Amsterdam. This resonated with my interest in the history of contraception and we found we had a lot in common. I was able to tell her that there is a photo of Dr Jacobs in my new book Rough on Women: Abortion in 19th-century New Zealand.

An interesting session was on Green Contraception, promoting contraception with low environmental impact including the reduction of ethinyloestradiol (used in many oral contraceptives) which is harmful to fish and other wildlife when excreted into water. There were several papers discussion the use of long acting reversible contraception (LARCs) i.e. IUDs and implants. These devices are strongly recommended to prevent repeat abortions.

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