This week we brought New Zealand's abortion laws into the 21st century
Seeking an abortion was a crime until now, but new legislation has removed the stigma and given women a choice
Thu 19 Mar 2020
New Zealand’s current abortion laws are more than 40 years old and were enacted when there were more MPs in Parliament named Bill than MPs who were female. This week we brought the laws into the 21st century.
Up to now, women seeking an abortion in New Zealand were committing a crime under our main criminal statute but had a defence if they followed the requirements of the abortion legislation. These requirements included the woman being referred by their doctor to two specialists who each had to certify she faces a serious danger to her life or physical or mental health. Other conditions also applied, such as whether the pregnancy was a result of incest or the woman lacked capacity to consent. For abortions after 20 weeks, conditions were more stringent.
Parliament removes abortion from Crimes Act
18 March 2020
Hon Andrew Little
Abortion has been removed from the Crimes Act under a new law passed by Parliament today.
“For over forty years abortion has been the only medical procedure considered a crime in New Zealand. But from now abortions will be rightly treated as a health issue,” Minister of Justice Andrew Little said.
New Zealand passes landmark law to decriminalise abortion
Campaigners hail move that will reclassify abortion as a health issue rather than a crime
Eleanor Ainge Roy
Wed 18 Mar 2020
New Zealand has passed a landmark bill to decriminalise abortion after decades of campaigning.
Andrew Little, the justice minister, said it was long overdue that the procedure would become classified as a health matter and not a criminal one.
The issue was scheduled to be put to a public referendum, but the government scrapped that option late on Wednesday.
Abortion no longer a crime in NZ after historic vote in Parliament
Parliament has voted 68-51 tonight in favour to decriminalise abortion and remove it from the Crimes Act.
Anna Whyte, 1 News Politics Reporter
Wed, Mar 18
The Abortion Legislation Bill will remove the statutory test for a person who is less than 20 weeks pregnant and allow a woman to self-refer to an abortion provider.
Heated speeches were delivered by MPs for and against, during the third and final reading of the bill. It will now be signed off by the Governor-General to become law.
New Zealand passes landmark law to decriminalize abortion
By Nick Perry, The Associated Press
Wed., March 18, 2020
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Margaret Sparrow was 21 years old when she drank a concoction to induce an abortion, at a time when the procedure was both illegal and socially unacceptable in New Zealand.
Now age 84, Sparrow was delighted Wednesday when lawmakers passed a landmark bill that treats the procedure as a health issue rather than a crime.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Sparrow, a doctor who has spent her life advocating for the reproductive rights of women.
New Zealand Eases Abortion Restrictions
By Richard Pérez-Peña
Published March 18, 2020
Lawmakers voted on Wednesday to liberalize New Zealand’s abortion law and allow unrestricted access during the first half of pregnancy, ending the country’s status as one of the few wealthy nations to limit the grounds for abortion during that period.
Members of Parliament also greatly loosened restrictions on abortions in the latter half of pregnancy, with language that opponents say amounts to no meaningful limitations until the moment of birth.
Voting mix-up sees abortion safe-zones axed and MPs 'gutted'
11 Mar, 2020
By: Amelia Wade, Reporter, NZ Herald
Justice Minister Andrew Little is disappointed that proposed "safe zones" around abortion clinics got axed late last night in a voting mix-up.
But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who supported the proposal to establish 150m protest-free areas around clinics, has brushed off the error as "the outcome of democracy".
Pro-choice protestors to rally around NZ for abortion law reform
Feb 18, 2020
Pro-choice protestors are set to rally around New Zealand today in support of abortion law reform.
“Now is the time for people who care about women and pregnant people to come out to the National Day of Action and show the politicians we need change," said Terry Bellamak, National President of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ).
The Abortion Legislation Bill, which passed its first reading last year at 94 votes to 23, is under a conscience vote, meaning MPs will vote in the next reading on what they individually believe, rather than along party lines.
A step by step guide to getting an abortion in New Zealand
On The Rag host Leonie Hayden got (fake) pregnant and decided to get a (fake) abortion. This is her story.
Leonie Hayden | Ātea Editor
September 2, 2019
Every year in New Zealand about 13,000 people have abortions. And every year in New Zealand about 200 people are denied abortions.
Under our current abortion laws we have an illusion of choice. Abortion care has the outward appearance of ease of access, yet remains enshrined in the Crimes Act. As someone who has never had an abortion, I realised I don’t know much about the proces – from what’s discussed in the initial consultation, to the procedure itself. So I went and got one… By which I mean, I pretended to get one so I could go through the steps and hopefully help demystify the process for someone else wanting to make an informed choice.
New Zealand is finally trying to decriminalize abortion. Why has it taken so long?
By Julia Hollingsworth, CNN
Sun August 18, 2019
(CNN) Veronica was 21 years old and scared. It all started with a break-up. Her long-term boyfriend left her for her friend. Heartbroken, she ended up having a one-night stand with an older guy.
After the condom broke, he gave her $20 ($13) for the morning after pill, which doesn't require a prescription in New Zealand. She took it but a month later, in the final semester of her teaching degree, she found out she was pregnant.