ALRANZ Brings Complaint to Human Rights Commission
ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa (ALRANZ) has brought a complaint to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) about New Zealand’s abortion laws. ALRANZ says the law discriminates against women and pregnant people.
“We believe New Zealand’s abortion laws discriminate on the basis of sex, including pregnancy. These laws also breach the fundamental rights of pregnant people in respect of other rights guaranteed in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. But the HRC can only consider discrimination cases. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing,” explained ALRANZ national president Terry Bellamak.
“ALRANZ is joined by five individual complainants whose experiences illustrate the how New Zealand’s current abortion laws discriminate against women and other pregnant people, resulting in hurt feelings, loss of dignity, and cruel, degrading, and disproportionately severe treatment.
“We complain that people seeking abortion care receive different and demonstrably worse treatment than other people seeking health care because:
• no one else needs the approval to
two certifying consultants to get health care;
• no one else can be denied health care because their reasons for seeking it are not the ones listed in the Crimes Act;
• no one else is forced to lie to their doctors about their mental health status if they want to receive health care;
• no one else is subject to arbitrary and unpredictable withholding of health care;
• only people seeking abortion referral or contraception can be refused service on the grounds of the provider’s ‘conscience’ with no warning and no recourse.”
The complaint is with the Office Human Rights Proceedings. That office will decide whether it will represent ALRANZ and the other complainants before the Human Rights Review Tribunal.
ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. 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.
Poll results show a majority of New Zealanders support the right to access abortion on request.