The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) formed in response to the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), an anti-abortion group. SPUC was launched in March 1970. Under the leadership of renowned medical professor William Liley, SPUC drew on Liley’s high-profile work on foetal transfusions to make dubious claims about the medical consequences of abortion and the experience of countries with liberal laws. These claims were questioned, as was the lack of consideration for the suffering of unhappily pregnant women seeking abortions and the fact that children ought to be born to parents who want them.
In response to SPUC’s campaigning, a group of around 60 concerned individuals met on 4 August 1970. They formed ALRANZ under the leadership of Mr Wayne Facer, an Auckland University administrator, who became the first research officer for ALRANZ. The group decided to form a steering committee, charged with drafting aims and objectives.
The steering committee reported back to a meeting held in the Unitarian Church, Ponsonby Road on 15 September 1970. At that meeting, ALRANZ endorsed the draft aims, and a constitution was prepared to establish ALRANZ as an incorporated society.
For more on our history, see our information and resources page.
After 40 years of lobbying for change, in March 2020, New Zealand modernised its abortion laws and decriminalised abortion after the passage of the Abortion Legislation Act 2020. Abortion is now regulated under health legislation. Here are some milestones leading up to this momentous victory.
National abortion poll (2017)
In 2017, ALRANZ commissioned a national poll to assess New Zealanders’ attitudes towards abortion.
The results showed that the public generally supports the right to choose.
- A majority of New Zealanders support abortion being legal in all seven specific circumstances given to them. (As shown in the figure alongside.)
Men are less supportive of the legality of abortion where there is no physical harm to the health of the woman.
Over 60s are less supportive of the legality of abortion than other age groups.
There is little variation by geographical area when it comes to views on abortion.
Pacific Island respondents were overall less supportive of the legality of abortion.
Green party voters were most supportive of the legality of abortion, followed by Labour voters, then National voters, and least supportive were NZ First voters.
Only 14% of adults correctly estimated that around one in four women have had an abortion. 37% thought the prevalence rate was under 20% while 19% thought it was over 30%.
ALRANZ challenged the view that the status quo of de facto abortion on demand was sufficient, arguing that the law required those seeking abortion to claim mental illness or future mental illness to access services. After 40 years of lobbying for change, in March 2020, New Zealand modernised its abortion laws and decriminalised abortion after the passage of the Abortion Legislation Act 2020. Above is a link to the Open Letter signed by numerous supporters just prior to that. Abortion is now regulated under health legislation.