Draft Abortion Law Reform Bill Announced
5 August 2019
ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the announcement of the Government’s draft abortion law reform bill.
“Finally. We’ve only been waiting forty-odd years,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.
“The bill is a mixed bag. It’s not as good as it could have been, but it’s so much better than the status quo, we have to give the Government props for that. It’s a good start.”
“The good parts: full decriminalisation; the ability to self-refer to an abortion service and bypass GPs; no special licence required over and above what other health clinics need; qualified health practitioners who are not doctors can provide the service.
“But why the 20 week limit? There are scans that happen around 20 weeks, and this gives people little time to consider those results.
“The safe areas seem to be reactive rather than proactive, because the regulations are made on a case by case basis. Does this mean providers and patients must suffer actual harassment, intimidation, or injury before they can apply to the Minister for a safe area? That might put health practitioners off providing abortion care.
“We will see what happens in the select committee process.
"But overall, this is a huge step forward, and quite an achievement."
In New Zealand, abortion is still in the Crimes Act.
ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion care. Under New Zealand’s abortion laws, two certifying consultants must approve every abortion under a narrow set of grounds set out in the Crimes Act. Those grounds do not include rape, nor the most common reasons cited overseas: contraception failure and the inability to support a child.