Common sense and fact must underpin debate
Family Planning says New Zealanders deserve a common sense, rational and medically informed conversation about abortion law reform.
"As this debate unfolds here, we must take care to ensure that the nonsense rhetoric coming from places like Alabama isn’t allowed to inform the conversation we’re having here," chief executive Jackie Edmond says.
"The report produced by the Law Commission was a rigorous piece of work and should give New Zealanders confidence that experts in women’s health and in the law were unanimous that managing abortion under the criminal code is not good law and certainly isn’t good health care."
Abortion care is part of reproductive health care - estimates are that around 1 in 4 women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Putting abortion care within a health framework, managed like any other health service, puts the woman at the centre of the decision-making.
Claims were made this week that the proposed law change was to extend the age limit for terminations from 20 to 40 weeks. This is completely untrue.
The Law Commission gave the Government three potential models of care.
Under Model A there would be no statutory test that must be satisfied before an abortion could be performed. The decision whether to have an abortion would be made by the woman concerned in consultation with her health practitioner. Under Model B there would be a statutory test. The health practitioner who intends to perform an abortion would need to be satisfied that the abortion is appropriate in the circumstances, having regard to the woman’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Under Model C, there would be no statutory test until 22 weeks of a pregnancy. After 22 weeks, the health practitioner who intends to perform an abortion would need to be satisfied that the abortion is appropriate in the circumstances, having regard to the woman’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.