Since publication of O&G Magazine Winter Vol. 20 No. 2 on abortion, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the 2018 Professional Development Forum at the Abortion Providers Group Aotearoa New Zealand (APGANZ). The forum, held over two days in Dunedin, presented a program of talks on all aspects of care for women having early and late abortions. A thought-provoking program was presented by local practitioners, including doctors, midwives, nurses, and two international guests, Dr Patricia Lohr, Medical Director of British Pregnancy Advisory Service, and Dr Ea Mulligan from the Department of O&G at Flinders University.
It was a privilege to meet such a group of committed and caring practitioners. I was struck, and not for the first time, by how important it is to listen and learn from each other; to reflect on our practices and the wide-ranging cultural, political and social forces that shape what we do. How we practise is not immutable. At the conclusion of the forum, all participants were invited to think about what we would like to change over the next 12 months. Supported by the warm collegiality I experienced, I would like to work with others at my place of work to review our current anti-D prophylaxis protocol and to consider not giving anti-D prophylaxis to women having abortions at less than seven weeks; to continue improving training and access to services; and to start the discussion about general anaesthetic, standard practice in Victoria, versus the standard practice of local anaesthetic and sedation in New Zealand, for women having first-trimester surgical abortions. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the excellent new Standards of Care document for women requesting an abortion in New Zealand that has been completed this year.
Thank you to APGANZ and to Dr Janet Downs and the organising committee.