Abortion Law Reform Coming to Forefront of Public Debate

A resurgence of public debate surrounding abortion reform is currently taking place in New Zealand, just as the United Kingdom has signalled its intent to discuss the possibility of decriminalising women who bring about their own abortion.

New Zealand women currently have to adhere to strict requirements to be allowed to have an abortion, including getting permission from two consultants.

Prime Minister Bill English has made his views on abortion reform abundantly clear throughout his tenure as Minister for Health and during his brief Prime Ministership. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) said the “Prime Minister’s support for New Zealand’s outdated abortion laws is deeply disappointing and shows how badly reform is needed.”

A recent Official Information Act release detailed that a total of 252 abortions were deemed to not be justified in New Zealand in 2016, a reduction of 12 from 2015. 2014 saw the lowest ‘not justified’ abortions in the previous five years, although 2013 had as many as 283.  

This article first appeared in Issue 4, 2017.
Posted 10:52am Sunday 19th March 2017 by Joe Higham.