18 Dec 2015

MOH in Cook Islands says it doesn't make abortion referrals

7:48 am on 18 December 2015

The Ministry of Health in the Cook Islands says it has never made abortion referrals, and probably never will.

Last month, the country's only gynaecologist, Doctor May Aung, told the Cook Islands News that the Ministry of Health ordered her to stop making termination appointments for women at the Epsom Day Clinic in Auckland.

She says she was told some people see her actions as an encouragement.

The Secretary of Health, Elizabeth Iro says they don't make referrals to New Zealand.

"We've never done it and we probably, and we will never do it. That's the position for the Ministry, so we will not be making patient referrals that don't fall under our policy in terms of patient referrals. That will be the position that the Ministry will continue to take."

Abortion is illegal in the country, but is permitted to save a woman's life or preserve her physical or mental health.

Women seeking terminations will have to make their own arrangements.