30 Nov 2015

Cooks doctor told not to facilitate abortion appointments

8:22 pm on 30 November 2015
A pregnant woman and her midwife. The woman has medical equipment strapped to her stomach.

A pregnant woman and her midwife Photo: 123RF

The Cook Islands Ministry of Health has stopped the country's only gynaecologist from sending patients wanting abortions to the Epsom Day Clinic in Auckland.

Doctor May Aung has told the Cook Islands News that the Ministry of Health ordered her to stop, saying some people see her actions as an encouragement.

Women seeking terminations now have to make their own arrangements.

Abortions are free for New Zealand citizens at the Epsom Day Unit.

Under the Cook Islands Crimes Act, which dates back more than 40 years, abortion is illegal, except to save the life of the woman, or preserve her physical or mental health.

The secretary of health Elizabeth Iro told the paper she was unsure where the government directive came from.