New Zealand Launches Free Abortion Hotline Because Women Shouldn't Have to Deal With This Stuff On Their Own

There are hotlines for just about everything, from the frivolous (The Butterball Hotline) to the life saving (The National Domestic Violence Hotline), but they all specialize in one very important thing: Providing people with information quickly on demand. And now one doctor in New Zealand is starting an abortion hotline to make sure that women in New Zealand have access to the information and the resources they need. Three cheers for that!

Simon Snook, a doctor from Wairarapa, told the New Zealand Herald that he was initially inspired to start the hotline after learning that women in New Zealand frequently wind up with long waits between their initial doctor's visit and their abortion. The average wait time is just over 29 days, which is 10 days longer than the ideal maximum wait set out by New Zealand guidelines (except of course in cases where the patient herself wanted the delay). And because the risks associated with abortion increase the further along the pregnancy is (though abortion remains a very safe procedure), shorter waits are generally better.

And so, to help women get quick access to the care they need, Snook started his hotline. The service can arrange for counseling (though such counseling is not mandatory), arrange for any necessary medical tests, and schedule an appointment for the abortion, and essentially have everything lined up just 24 hours after a woman contacts the hotline. And the whole thing is completely free.

New Zealand is not the only country with this type of service, however. In fact, we have an abortion hotline right here in America, which is run by the National Abortion Federation. While this hotline can't schedule anything for you, it does provide factual, unbiased information about abortion, and can refer you to reputable abortion care providers in your area. They also can help refer women who can't afford the procedure to funding sources and help in understanding the restrictions in their particular state. The service provides assistance to the U.S. and Canada, and calls can be conducted in English, French, or Spanish. All calls are confidential.

It's unfortunate that these types of hotlines are necessary, but sadly, obtaining an abortion can be a confusing and difficult process. In the U.S., different states have created their own unique hoops to jump through (some of which make no sense whatsoever), and anti-choice lawmakers who have been frustrated by their efforts to ban abortion continue to try to find more. It means that navigating the process can be a mess, especially for women dealing with all of it alone. Plus there's a lot of misinformation about abortion out there, much of it deliberately spread by anti-choice activists. Which makes hotlines staffed by knowledgeable people essential.

If you're in New Zealand, you can reach the new hotline at: 0800–ABORTION (0800–226784)

And if you're in the U.S., you can find the NAF hotline at: 1-800-772-9100

Image: Giphy