New Zealand: A right to choose: Helensville candidates on abortion and euthanasia

A right to choose: Helensville candidates on abortion and euthanasia

August 22 2017

Candidates wanting to be Helensville's next MP have shared their views on some controversial topics – abortion and euthanasia.

Green's Hayley Holt, Labour's Kurt Taogaga and ACT's Alex Evans think abortion laws need to be adjusted, but NZ First's Helen Peterson and National's Chris Penk have concerns.

Penk said he would be interested in hearing the views of those living in the electorate, but said he wouldn't support a change to the current law.

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A victory for abortion rights in Australia

A victory for abortion rights in Australia

20 April 2017

In Australia’s Northern Territory (NT), a bill to amend the Northern Territory Medical Services Act, in order to decriminalise abortion, has passed in parliament. Voted through by 20 votes to four, this new bill brings in dramatic, positive changes for women in the NT seeking abortion services.

Women will no longer have to visit hospitals – sometimes hundreds of miles from home – to access abortion services. Instead, they can now attend specialist, local clinics. The bill also legalises the use of abortion drugs such as RU486 for up to nine weeks into pregnancy, offering women the non-surgical option to terminate a pregnancy in its infancy. As well as this, the bill officially changes the criminal code, meaning abortion is no longer regulated by the criminal law in the NT.

Continued at Source: Spiked:

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Australia: NT abortion bill: Reform to allow RU486 will deliver equality, lead to ‘dark ages’, politicians tell Parliament

NT abortion bill: Reform to allow RU486 will deliver equality, lead to 'dark ages', politicians tell Parliament
By Lucy Marks

March 21, 2017

The Northern Territory Parliament has passed a law decriminalising abortion and legalising the medical termination of pregnancy.

A crowd of supporters cheered in the public gallery when the bill passed 20 votes to four, after a lengthy debate on Tuesday night.

Health Minister Natasha Fyles said in passing the bill the Government had delivered on an election commitment to Territory women.

Continued at source: ABC News:

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UK: MPs have voted to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales

MPs have voted to decriminalise abortion in England and Wales

The 1967 Abortion Act did not decriminalise abortion, but rather made it legal if two doctors approve the procedure

By Siobhan Fenton Social Affairs Correspondent
March 13, 2017

MPs have backed a bill by 172 votes in favour, versus 142 against.

The bill, which was introduced as a Ten-Minute rule bill, will now go to a second reading on 24th March, before it can be passed into law.

In 1967, the Abortion Act was passed which made terminations legal subject to doctors' approval and if a pregnant person can prove they meet predetermined criteria.

However, critics say the law does not go far enough as people who do not meet these conditions who have an abortion are committing a criminal offence.

Continued at source: The Independent:

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Petition to Supreme Court of Brazil seeks decriminalization of abortion

PRESS RELEASE: Petition to Supreme Court of Brazil seeks decriminalization of abortion
March 7, 2017, by Safe Abortion

A petition was filed today, 7 March 2017, with the Brazilian Supreme Court which calls for the decriminalization of abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. The petition was filed by the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), with support from Anis - Institute of Bioethics.

The petition – calling for decriminalization of abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy – has been signed by a group of women lawyers and filed with the Brazilian Supreme Court to day, 7 March 2017.

It has been presented on the eve of International Women’s Day on 8 March, a day on which an international general strike will take place, with women taking the day off from both paid and unpaid labour in protest against oppression.

In Latin America, many women will march under the slogan Ni Una Menos (Not One Woman More) demanding an end to violence against women. In this context, the petition calls for the protection of women’s rights so that no woman has to face humiliation, fear of imprisonment or the risk of injury or death as a result of an unsafe abortion.

In Brazil, abortion is a crime under the 1940 Penal Code; the only three exceptions are in cases of rape, risk to the woman’s life, and fetal anencephaly. The latter legal ground was also granted in a Supreme Court decision, in 2012, which was supported by Anis - Institute of Bioethics.

The petition presented today states that the criminalization of abortion violates women's rights to dignity, citizenship, non-discrimination, life, equality, freedom, freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, health, and family planning, all of which are protected under the Constitution of Brazil.

The Brazil National Abortion Survey 2016 found that in 2015 alone, more than half a million women had abortions in Brazil. Racial and class inequalities make abortion a more common event in the lives of women with greater social vulnerabilities: 15% of Black and Indigenous women have had an abortion in their lives, while 9% of White women have. The criminalization of abortion has serious consequences for women, especially Black and Indigenous women, women living in under-developed regions of the country, and all women who are poor, because they have less access to safe, albeit illegal abortions.

The criminalization of abortion causes morbidity and deaths that are almost all preventable. Abortion is a very safe procedure. Yet, recent studies estimate that 8–18% of maternal deaths worldwide are from complications of unsafe abortion, which are concentrated in lower income countries where abortion is legally restricted. In Brazil, research shows that about half of the women who have illegal abortions in the country have had to be hospitalized.

If the Supreme Court of Brazil votes in favour of the petition proposed by PSOL and Anis, and decriminalizes abortion on request up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, they will be taking an important stand as guardians of the Brazilian Constitution in protecting the fundamental rights of women.


For more information:




Source: International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion:

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Australia: Time to de-criminalise abortion in Queensland?

Time to de-criminalise abortion in Queensland?


Women in Queensland, Australia, are forgoing food and delaying bills to pay for abortions as costs remain in the hundreds of dollars despite the introduction of an abortion drug, a national study reveals.

Researchers led by La Trobe University's Judith Lumley Centre delved into the experiences of women who had medical or surgical abortions through a private group of clinics and found a third suffered financial difficulties as a result, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Continued at source: Perspecs:

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Abortion policies: the human right to health

By Sarah Borg
Posted on 17th October 2016

The large majority of those reading this will be entitled to healthcare under the National Health Service (NHS). This means that if needed, free contraception and free safe, legal abortions are generally available to you. Many women in other countries do not have this same entitlement.

56 million abortions are performed worldwide per year. Twenty-two million of these are unsafe, meaning that they are performed by someone lacking the necessary skills and/or in an environment lacking minimal medical standards. 97% of these unsafe abortions occur in developing countries. Unsafe abortions account for 13% of maternal mortality (deaths during or soon after pregnancy) worldwide.

[continued at link]
Source: The Oxford Student

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British women, please rally to support decriminalisation of abortion

Letter to the Guardian
Tuesday 11 October 2016 19.09 BST

In Poland mass protests have forced the government to drop plans to tighten its already draconian abortion laws. Yet here in Britain most people are unaware that women still live under the threat of being sentenced to life imprisonment if they end their own pregnancies by buying pills on the internet. Doctors also face harsh penalties if they do not fill in the correct forms before terminating a pregnancy.

Back in 1967 our law was changed to allow the legal ending of pregnancies if certain conditions were met. Otherwise the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act remained in place; and so it still is today – nearly half a century later.

Soon, a ten-minute rule bill is to be introduced to the House of Commons proposing that abortion in Britain is decriminalised. To do so would not only allow speedier and much less bureaucratic use of modern medical procedures, but would save a huge amount of NHS money while bringing us into line with countries such as Canada where medical abortion was decriminalised nearly three decades ago.

In Britain one in three women will have an abortion. Yet the views of the small but vociferous anti-abortion lobby garner most of the publicity and continue to dominate public argument. If only a small proportion of the millions of women who have benefited from the 1967 Act were to write to their MPs now asking them to be in the Commons on 24 October and to give support to this proposal, perhaps this punitive Victorian legislation would have a chance of being brought up to date.

Back in the 1960s when I was an abortion law reform activist, the Guardian and its readers did much to facilitate the liberalisation of the law. They now need to mobilise again so that their children and grandchildren can benefit in the same way that they already have from the activities of my generation.

Diane Munday
Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire

Source: The Guardian

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Australia: Queensland rejects bill to decriminalise abortion

Independent MP for Cairns Rob Pyne introduced the Women's Right to Choose bill in May.

After 1400 submission, scores of expert appearances and public hearings, Queensland's Parliamentary inquiry into abortion law reform has rejected a bill to decriminalise abortion across the state.

Cairns Independent MP Rob Pyne, who introduced the Women's Right to Choose bill in May, said the decision was politically motivated and that it was "disappointing that some of the politicians can't be a little more courageous in their approach to some reform".

However, chairwoman and Labor MP Leanne Linard said careful consideration was given to the complex issues in regulating termination of pregnancy.

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Australia: Abortion Should Be Decriminalised

Published August 29, 2016 | By Julian Savulescu

Abortion remains a crime in Queensland and NSW in Australia. Queensland Parliament has just decided against decriminalising abortion. However, laws are obsolete and unclear, dating back over 100 years. Around 100,000 abortions are performed around Australia every year. In practice, early abortion is available on demand.

Abortion should be decriminalised. Early abortion should be freely and easily available on request. Late abortion should be freely and easily available at least for those who have a valid justification: significant fetal abnormality, threat to woman’s health or serious social reason, for example child pregnancy or rape. Family planning, including safe, free and open abortion services, is an essential part of a civilized society.

Failure to regulate abortion properly results in women being denied safe, effective abortion services, affecting their mental health and social welfare, as well as those of their family and society. It is stigmatising to women and health professionals to allow abortion to occur, while retaining it as a criminal offence. It is also moral hypocrisy.

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Source: Practical Ethics blog

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