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New Australian Abortion Law Sets Example for NZ

Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
11 October

New Australian Abortion Law Sets Example for NZ

"The decriminalisation of abortion in the Australian state of Victoria is a big step forward for women that should prompt our own politicians to rethink New Zealand's out-dated abortion laws," ALRANZ president Dr. Margaret Sparrow said today. "Abortion is not a crime but a women's health issue."

"Abortion legislation in New Zealand is unfair to women, costly to the taxpayer and has not kept up with medical advances," Dr. Sparrow said. "Our laws were passed more than 30 years ago by a conservative Parliament that included only four women MPs. They also predate the introduction of the abortion drug Mifegyne into New Zealand by 24 years."

Under Victoria's new law, which passed the state's Upper House at 10.30pm last evening abortion decisions up to 24 weeks' gestation will be in the hands of the woman concerned, Dr. Sparrow said. After 24 weeks, the approval of two doctors is needed. The vote in the Upper House was 23:17.

"This is a sensible law that treats women with respect. In New Zealand, all women seeking abortion must get the approval of two Certifying Consultants," she said. "Those consultants cost the taxpayer over $5 million a year, and cost women the dignity of being responsible for their own lives."

Dr. Sparrow said ALRANZ hoped New Zealand's lawmakers would take inspiration from the courage of Victoria's government. "It can be done," she said.


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