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National campaign to decriminalise abortion

National campaign to decriminalise abortion starts this weekend
Saturday 12 March 2011
For immediate release

A national campaign to bring our abortion laws out of the Crimes Act and into the 21st century is starting this weekend, with a Wellington meeting of over 70 activists from around the country.

"Our abortion laws are forty years old and out of date. They need to be urgently updated and made fairer," said campaign spokesperson Kirstie Vonk. "They are preventing women from accessing health services when and where they need them, and make criminals out of patients instead of dealing with unwanted pregnancy as a health issue."

"The decision to not allow Family Planning to deliver medical abortions shows how archaic and impractical the current law is," said campaign spokesperson Dr Morgan Healey. "The Right to Life case, currently before the High Court, shows just how fragile and outdated our abortion services are. Should the High Court rule in favour of Right to Life, the Abortion Supervisory Committee could be forced to crack down on certifying consultants using ‘mental’ health as a fix-all for our unfair abortion law .”

Kirstie Vonk said that the issue of a fairer abortion law is attracting a new generation of younger activists who are committed to seeing the law change in the next term of government. "Whenever we talk about the current legal hoops women must jump through to get an abortion, we are attracting more and more support for our objective."

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Morgan Healey said the campaign was aiming to educate the public about the inequity of current laws and to place abortion in its proper legal and practical home, as a health rather than a criminal issue.

"This issue will not go away and we believe that most New Zealanders support a modern law that follows best practice medical guidelines. We are taking a strong message to lawmakers that we expect them to act soon to make this a reality."
ENDS

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