Global Reproductive Rights Womens Rights

New Zealand Decriminalizes Abortion

On Wednesday, March 18, New Zealand lawmakers voted on and passed a bill that treats abortion as health care and not as a crime, with a vote of 68 to 51.

In Nick Perry’s Associated Press release published by ABC news, Margaret Sparrow, 84-year-old doctor and advocate for reproductive rights, said that, “it’s been a long time coming.” Before the vote abortion was “regulated under the Crimes Act, requiring women to prove to a doctor that their pregnancy presented a danger to their physical or mental health before they could get an abortion.”

In response to the bill, Jackie Edmond, chief executive of Family Planning, said that, “it’s fantastic Parliament has addressed something that they should have addressed 40 years ago.” And according the release, “the law stayed on the books for so long because people found a work-around and lawmakers worried about the political consequences of opening up a debate about it.” However, that all changed once “Jacinda Ardern was elected prime minister in 2017 and followed up on a campaign promise to bring the issue to a vote.”

 

Sources: ABC News 3/18; Associated Press 3/18; familyplanning.org 3/2020