The Family Planning Council may soon be able to provide non-surgical abortions within the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

The council today announced it would apply to the Abortion Supervisory Committee for a licence to provide an early medical abortion service.

The early abortions involve the use of pills to cause a miscarriage early in the pregnancy , rather than a surgical abortion, where the embryo is removed from the uterus by suction.

"Currently, New Zealand women have inconsistent access to abortion services and in many areas, limited choice about the method of abortion they can access," Family Planning president Linda Penno said.

"Safe and accessible abortion services are an integral part of good reproductive health care. Applying for this licence is consistent with that philosophy of access and choice."

- NZPA