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ALRANZ Backs MP’s Legalisation Proposal
Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
3 July 2010
ALRANZ today expresses its full support for Labour MP Steve Chadwick’s proposal to legalise abortion in New Zealand, the association’s president, Dame Margaret Sparrow, said.
Ms. Chadwick’s proposal, as outlined in a newspaper article, is to give women access to abortion on request up until 24 weeks of pregnancy.
“Abortion is a medical matter, not a crime and should be treated as such,” Dame Margaret said. “The proposed bill would do that by removing abortion from the Crimes Act.”
“Both sides of the abortion debate agree that our current laws don’t work. They are expensive, costing the country about $5 million a year in fees paid to certifying consultants, two of whom must approve each abortion,” she said.
Dame Margaret said the nonsensical state of the law as it stands was perhaps best highlighted by the fact that more than 98 percent of all abortions are performed on the grounds of mental health of the woman.
“Women are quite capable of making a decision about abortion, but are forced into this hypocritical situation by our outdated laws,” she said.
“While some anti-abortion advocates argue New Zealand already effectively has abortion on request, that is clearly not the case so long as the state, via certifying consultants, gets to make the abortion decision, instead of it being up to the woman concerned.”
Dame Margaret said she was disappointed but not surprised at the reaction from the Labour and National Party leaders, which appeared to be to avoid the issue.
“They should applaud and support this bold initiative from Ms. Chadwick. All we’re really seeking is for the conscience vote that MPs get to exercise on abortion be given to every woman in New Zealand.”
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