Last year I had a bit of a go at the abortion laws that not enable Doctors to refuse to provide abortions and contraception advice to patients but also refuse to give a referral to other Doctors. I won't rehash my arguement that if you are going into health, especially reproductive health, you are going to be dealing with stuff you might not be 100% comfortable with and if that is a makes you squrim you need to reassess your career options.
This time around it is nurses who aren't so happy in performing surgical abortions (the ones done in the second trimester). According to the abortion supervisory committee about 5% of abortions are done after the 13th week so we are talking about small numbers.
Now I happen to be of the belief that if you are after a termination, you best get on to it sooner rather than later. But given that you need not one but two certified doctors to sign off on the process that isn't always easy. Especially for women who are living a considerable distance from an abortion provider. And with some hospitals and indeed DHBs not offering the service this sad state of affairs encourages delays. As you can see from this Map I stole from Maia, abortion access is rather piecemeal.
The black dots are towns where you can get abortion services - the coloured blocks are areas where those abortion clinics, or hospitals serve while the white dots are hospitals that are fully licenced to perform abortions, but choose not to (or more likely don't have the staff). Access gets pretty dire when you move out of the main centers, the entire of the South Island has only four abortion providers and some DHBs don't provide the procedure at all. Unless you're prepared to pay both for the abortion and the trip to Auckland to go to the only private abortion clinic in New Zealand, you go where your DHB sends you and that throws up some bizarre bureaucratic barriers.
If you are woman from Invercargill you actually need to travel to Christchurch rather than Dunedin because the Southland DHB doesn't fund it and won't contract to the closer Otago provider (where incidentally you can only get abortions on certain days of the week). This has to be a total bitch for anyone on a low wage and even more so for women who already have children that need to start worrying about childcare. So while for us lucky enough to live in the black dot areas the procedure might just involve a day off work after getting the intial sign offs, everyone else has to deal with the arranging not only the sign offs but also inter-city medical care which eats up time. And what happens once you run past the 12 week mark? You end up at Auckland where the nurses aren't so keen on performing later term abortions.
Part of the problem lies with the DHBs being dicks but the real cause is our archaic abortion legislation that insists every abortion must be signed off by two certifying consultants. So in order to actually offer an abortion service you need to have at least two certifying consultants on hand and consultants are bloody expensive. In the meantime the people that suffer are the women whose misery is being prolonged by legislation and the healthcare workers who aren't entirely happy having to perform unnecessary later term abortions.