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Split Vote on Abortion Research

30 September 2006


Split Vote on Abortion Research

This morning the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) Conference voted on a remit which called for NCWNZ to request that the Government initiate further research into the mental health outcomes for women following abortion.

Delegates noted that it is often the case that women suffer depression years after they have opted to terminate a pregnancy. Women having abortions are not fully assessed by specialist psychologists and counselling for women is not mandatory. There is also a serious lack of research into depression experienced by women following an abortion; particularly studies which are longitudinal and able to identify women who had a pre-disposition towards mental illness.

There was extensive debate on the issue. Delegates were concerned that research should be carried out on all unplanned pregnancies, including whether they resulted in adoption, continuing the pregnancy, or abortion.

Many delegates were united in the fact that the mental health outcomes for all pregnant women were of the utmost importance. It was proposed that a broader based remit be considered at the next national meeting of the Council.

Voting was extremely close; with a majority voting against the remit.


Further Information:
Christine Low, National President
Ph: 021-0655565 or 04 473 7623

National Council of Women of New Zealand
P O Box 12 117, Wellington


"Women Influencing Policy"

29 September 2006



Two resolutions were passed by the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) yesterday. The first supported the right for women to breastfeed in all public places. The second resolution called on the Government to fund the total cost of the three core health services provided by Hospices, those services being Assessment and Co-ordination, Clinical Care, and Support Care.

Representatives for the breastfeeding resolution identified examples of discrimination against women feeding their babies in public places.

During the debate, some indicated that breastfeeding should be carried out discreetly. However, some felt that in comparison with the current level of “adult” content on television, a woman breastfeeding in a public place would scarcely cause a ripple.

There was concern noted that the amount of time taken out by employed women to breastfeed babies at work could impose a cost on employers. Yet, it was also stated that breastfeeding a child will save society in the long-run, due to the physical and psychological health gains.

Other delegates identified the cost to the consumer who bottle-feeds her child and the cost to the environment through preparing bottles and disposal of formula cans.

The discussion highlighted that many were disappointed that society needed legislation to enshrine the right to breastfeed, since it is a natural part of most people’s lives at some stage.

NCWNZ’s policy now incorporates women’s rights to breastfeed in all places.
In the following debate on hospices, NCWNZ delegates identified the current state of financial hardship that hospices faced in some areas around New Zealand, including Tauranga, and South Canterbury. Hamilton has had no increase in funding since 2001, even though the numbers applying for help have increased by 12%pa. In the Nelson/Marlborough region it is predicted that by 2021 there will be an 82% increase of people requiring this service in the 65 - 74 age group.

NCWNZ will be urging the Government to fund the total cost of the three core health services provided by Hospices, those services being Assessment and Co-ordination, Clinical Care, and Support Care.


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