N. Zealand to decriminalise abortion laws, critics say bill falls short

Under a proposed new law women in New Zealand a woman will have access to an abortion until 20 weeks pregnancyMore

Under a proposed new law women in New Zealand a woman will have access to an abortion until 20 weeks pregnancyMore

New Zealand now has restrictive laws listing abortion as a crime, but with a loophole that gives a woman access to a termination if two doctors agree a pregnancy would put her in physical or mental danger.

The New Zealand government on Monday announced a bill to decriminalize abortion so that it can treated as a health issue, rather than a crime.

The legislation would allow for the creation of safe areas around specific abortion facilities to protect women from intimidation or harassment from anti-abortion activists.

All three models would remove it from the Crimes Act, but they differed in what the new model would entail.

The bill can be handled as a conscience subject, with MPs ready to solid their votes unbiased of their political get together's place.

Beneath the draft laws, which may have its first studying on Thursday, no statutory check could be required for a ladies wanting to terminate a being pregnant up to 20 weeks of being pregnant.

Women would be able to self-refer to abortion providers, bypassing the need for a doctor's visit, and would be advised of counselling and support services, though counselling would not be mandatory. "It's time for this to change", said Little in a statement.

But the Commission said that a majority of professional bodies, abortion service providers and health practitioners had not recommended safe areas, saying that the problem was isolated and infrequent at the moment.

"Abortion is the only medical procedure that is still a crime in New Zealand".

Under the proposed law it will still be illegal for an unqualified person to try to perform an abortion and causing the death of an unborn child by harming a pregnant woman will remain an offence.

There were 13,282 abortions performed past year, according to Statistics New Zealand, and 57 of those took place after 20 weeks' pregnancy. "Oversight of abortion services would be transferred from the Abortion Supervisory Committee to the Ministry of Health", Mr Little said.

Terry Bellamak, director of ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa mentioned New Zealand ladies have waited many years for the overhaul and although the bill was "an enormous step ahead, and fairly an achievement", the small print have been a little bit of a "blended bag". "It's a good start".

"The good parts: full decriminalisation; the ability to self-refer to an abortion service and bypass Global Positioning System; no special licence required over and above what other health clinics need; qualified health practitioners who are not doctors can provide the service".

However, Bellamak questioned the 20-week limit.

"There are scans that happen around 20 weeks and this gives people little time to consider those results", he said.

"The secure areas appear to be reactive quite than proactive, as a result of the rules are made on a case-by-case foundation". For those more than 20 weeks pregnant, a doctor or health practitioner will still need to approve the procedure.

"The test will be whether the restrictions on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly are related and proportional to the objective of allowing people safe abortion", Seymour said.

"So you only have a woman with one point of contact if she's being coerced or is ambivalent and doesn't have the right information".

But Voice for Life spokesperson Kate Cormack told Radio New Zealand the proposed changes were "not actually going to help women" and were "counter-productive to women's health".

When asked if she thought that this would impact the abortion protesters' free speech, she said that it must be remembered "there is a duty of care that comes with free speech".

Japan car sales slump in South Korea as trade row escalates
Seventeen dead in traffic explosion in central Cairo, say health ministry