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Amendments To Abortion Legislation Bill Tabled For Abortions Post-20 Weeks

A Supplementary Order Paper to amend the Abortion Legislation Reform Bill has been released by National MP, Agnes Loheni, who says she is deeply concerned by the radical liberalisation of the criteria for abortion post 20 weeks, and believes this must be changed before the Bill progresses.

‘The key issue which has come out of the Select Committee process is the liberalisation of the criteria for abortion post 20 weeks. This is a substantial change in the way we treat abortion law in this country.

‘At the moment, the grounds for abortions post 20 weeks are clear, notably that the abortion must be needed to save the woman’s life or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health. Abortions of this kind can only be carried out with the approval of two doctors, and the medical community has accepted these as necessary safeguards for decades.

‘Thousands of submissions on this Bill raised concerns regarding post 20 week abortions, but the Select Committee process only made minor, insignificant changes such as by suggesting broad, ambiguous wording such as “overall well-being”.

‘I am proposing a Supplementary Order Paper which will return the post 20 week criteria to where it currently stands under the current Act. This amendment allows Members who support removing abortion from the Crimes Act to do so, while also maintaining important safeguards for post 20 week abortions as is currently allowed in a small number of important cases.’

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