ALRANZ welcomes mention of abortion in Committee Report
ABORTION LAW REFORM ASSOCIATION OF NEW ZEALAND
19 November 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ALRANZ welcomes mention of abortion in Health Committee Report
The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) welcomes the Health Committee’s agreement that current abortion laws need to be reviewed in their recently released report on the Inquiry into improving child health outcomes and preventing child abuse, with a focus from pre-conception to three years of age. Specifically the report stated that the Committee agreed with submissions that called for the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act (1977) to be reviewed by the Law Commission in relation to New Zealand’s outdated abortion laws.
ALRANZ notes that the cross-party report echoes the recent remit passed at the Labour Party Conference, which indicated the party’s desire to have the Law Commission review the current state of abortion. It also aligns with the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Committee’s concluding observations on New Zealand’s seventh periodic report (2012) requesting that the Government review the current abortion laws and practice “with a view to simplifying it and to ensure women’s autonomy to choose”.
ALRANZ President, Dr Morgan Healey said the group was pleased to see the mention of abortion in the Health Committee’s report, particularly under the header of reproductive human rights.
“The Committee’s statement confirms what we have long been advocating for, that abortion legislation in this country needs to be reviewed and treated as a health service as opposed to a justice issue. This reaffirms our belief that abortion is a fundamental part of a person’s human right to reproductive health,” she said.
ALRANZ National Secretary Annabel Henderson Morrell said ALRANZ was also fully supportive of the report’s recommendations that funding be provided for free or low-cost access to a wider range of long-acting reversible contraception, like Mirena, and to allow specially trained primary care nurses to prescribe contraception and fit intrauterine devices.
“We recently made similar recommendations to Pharmac around subsidising Mirena, Implanon and the progesterone-only pill Cerazette. It is great to see this reinforced by the Health Committee. A key element of a comprehensive reproductive and sexual health strategy must include free and easily accessible choice in relation to contraception and abortion. We know choice of contraception can be an issue for some people and if these recommendations are implemented it could eliminate many barriers,” said Henderson Morrell.