Clinical Guideline for Abortion Care

RANZCOG

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists

Updated
26 February 2024

RANZCOG released a Clinical Guideline for Abortion Care today, evidence-based guidance for Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

President-Elect Dr Gill Gibson, who chaired the guideline development group, said: “RANZCOG supports equitable access to sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion, a fundamental reproductive health right.”

The purpose of this guideline is to provide evidence-based recommendations to registered health professionals who provide advice and abortion care in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Recent legislative changes in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand permit abortion to be performed in all jurisdictions, under certain circumstances, by registered health professionals who are working within their approved scope of practice.

Dr Gibson said: “The publication of this guideline is an important step towards universal access to timely, safe and high-quality abortion care.”

Importantly, the new guideline covers:

Telehealth Advancements: There is scope for an increased role for telehealth in Early Medical Abortion (EMA). EMA services by telehealth have been reported to be safe and effective.

Routine Testing: Routine testing of blood group for Rh D status, is not required for either medical or surgical abortion up to 10 weeks pregnant. The guideline also makes recommendations on use of ultrasound prior to an abortion.

Pain Relief: All women undergoing a medical or surgical abortion should be offered effective pain relief.

Antibiotic Prophylaxis: The guideline provides clarity that antibiotic prophylaxis is recommended for all women having a surgical abortion, but is not recommended for women having a medical abortion.

Choice of Medical or Surgical Abortion: When considering a medical or a surgical abortion, women should be able to choose the method of abortion most acceptable to them as both methods are safe and effective. RANZCOG has developed a companion document to this guideline, to support their decision making.

Recommendations for Future Research

Where a paucity of evidence exists, the guideline has identified areas for future research, such as pain management for surgical abortions. Further research is also needed on the risk of complications for women with previous uterine surgery who are planning abortion.

Access to Abortion Services

The guideline states that access to abortion services should not be limited by age, ethnicity, language barriers, migration or detention status, geographic isolation, socioeconomic disadvantage, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

Development

This comprehensive guideline was developed by a dedicated team, following RANZCOG’s robust processes.

Dr Gibson said: “We are grateful to the patients, clinicians, researchers and policymakers for their expertise, enthusiasm and genuine engagement in this project. We especially would like to acknowledge the generous and thoughtful contributions of the members of the guideline development group.”

Download The Clinical Guideline for Abortion Care and the accompanying decision aid.

Media queries:

t 61 3 9417 1699
media@ranzcog.edu.au

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