The Abortion Legislation Bill

on 19 December

A message received from the Ministry of Health re the Abortion Legislation Bill

Kia ora,

The Abortion Legislation Bill is currently being considered by the Abortion Legislation Select Committee as it continues its progress through Parliament.

Based on the normal timelines for this process, the Bill will have its second reading in Parliament early next year and if this passes it will be debated in Parliament and then have a third reading after which a conscience vote will be held in Parliament (meaning MPs cast votes on their own behalf). The Bill may have changes after some of these stages, and the Ministry will work to make you aware of changes and the progress through the stages.

The draft Bill is available at

It’s important the health sector, including the Ministry, doesn’t pre-empt the Bill’s progress, but we also need to make sure we are prepared to enact the legislation if it passes.

Unlike most health legislation, barring any changes, if it passes its final vote the Bill will take effect from the time it receives Royal Assent and passes into law. Commonly health legislation has an implementation period before it comes into effect. While there will still be a realistic implementation period for this legislation if it passes, the law itself will likely take effect from the time it receives Royal Assent. The Ministry wants to make sure the sector is prepared in case this happens.

The Ministry has established a team to help to prepare for implementation if the Bill passes or doesn’t pass but changes are still made to the current systems. This team will be considering implications for operational service delivery such as referral and care pathways, data collection, public information, workforce and standards.  

The Ministry will also be holding workshops with DHBs, PHOs, NGOs, consumers and others. We will send updates about the Bill’s progress, work carried out by the Ministry’s team and about the workshops and also post them on our website.  We will let you know the web address once its available.

We’d appreciate if you pass this message on to all you think may benefit from it. If you receive this message indirectly but would like to receive updates regularly, please email ALR@HEALTH.GOVT.NZ

Ngā mihi,

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