ALRANZ and the Transgender Community

ALRANZ and the Transgender Community

Recently, the ALRANZ Executive Committee received questions regarding where we stand on the inclusion of transgender and non-binary people in reproductive rights activism.

With this in mind, we’re happy to clarify that our policy is one of inclusiveness of trans and non-binary people in all our events, advocacy and outreach.

We advocate for the right for anyone who can get pregnant to have safe and straightforward access to abortion should they want it. We think it’s possible to hold all these things true, that: abortion is primarily a women’s issue, not all women can get pregnant, and not all people who might need an abortion are women. We try and reflect this in our language, which aims both to centre women and to be inclusive of our trans and non-binary community.

The fight for reproductive health rights is one that primarily affects women, but sexual and reproductive rights are human rights, and do not need to come at the cost of alienating other marginalised groups.

We have also been asked specifically by people who do not share this kaupapa whether they will be excluded from our events based on their beliefs.

Our answer is this: If you want to bring a placard with a uterus to an event ALRANZ is hosting or involved with, go for it. But if you want to come to an event specifically to make trans folk feel uncomfortable or to promote a purposefully exclusive idea about what being a woman should involve, please stay home.

The pro-choice position is predicated on the idea that a pregnant person knows the most about their individual situation and knows what is best for them, when/if to involve others, and whom to involve. We reject the idea that the state (or a doctor, politician, priest, or whoever) understands someone’s lived experience better than they do, and is therefore more qualified to make decisions for them.

We also apply this principle to people’s gender identity; no one has the right to police the validity of another person’s experience.

Abortion is just one aspect of choice and doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We advocate for everyone to be free to choose whether and when to become a parent, but more fundamentally, to also freely and safely express their sexuality. To be defined by our beliefs, ideas, and actions instead of our bodies. This is a human right, no matter what’s in your pants.

Many trans and non-binary people have historically shown up for the pro-choice cause. We are thankful for this solidarity, and we are here to return it.

In solidarity,

The ALRANZ Executive Committee:

Terry Bellamak

Jess Ducey

Dr Morgan Healey

Nicole Skews-Poole

A.S.

Scott Summerfield

Thomas Blakely

March for Reproductive Rights

March for Reproductive Rights

Nobody should be denied the right to make informed choices about our health, our bodies, and how we plan our families, but in New Zealand, abortion continues to remain a criminal offence. Under our current law, we need two doctors to verify that continuing a pregnancy would be harmful to our health or mental health in order to be granted an abortion. These hurdles cause unnecessary stress and frustration for countless women and people seeking to end their pregnancy.

Unplanned pregnancies can result in job losses, exclusion from work and educational institutions, financial strain, and judgement from the community and family. The expectation to make these sacrifices, carry a pregnancy to term, and take on more duties as a parent, falls primarily on women.

The stigma towards abortion and discrimination against people with unplanned pregnancies cannot end while abortion remains in the Crimes Act. Access to abortion must not rely on our capacity to jump through hoops or lie about or health. Doctors and governments do not have the right to control our bodies – only we do!

On the 5th of December, we will march from Frank Kitts Park to Parliament. Join us as we stand before Parliament to demand abortion be removed from the Crimes Act, and demand free, safe, widely-accessible, publicly funded access to abortions for all who need them.

Confirmed speakers:
Jan Logie.
Terry Bellamak.
Catherine Healy.
Sue Bradford.

Confirmed Musical Acts:
Siobhan Leilani – NahBo

Please sign ALRANZ‘s petition: https://our.actionstation.org.nz/petitions/reform-our-abortion-law

Bigotry of any kind including transphobia, racism, homophobia, and ableism will not be condoned in this event page or at the march.

Reproductive Rights March on Wednesday

On Wednesday, 5 December at 12:30pm ALRANZ is co-sponsoring a march and rally in Wellington along with Organise Aotearoa, the Victoria University Feminist Organisation, and the Feminist Law Society.

Speakers will include MPs, former MPs, and activists.

“The Law Commission’s report to the Ministry of Justice on abortion law reform highlights the inadequacies and injustices of our current system. Current law discriminates against women and pregnant people by forcing them to seek the approval of two certifying consultants and lie about their mental health status in order to receive abortion care,” said Terry Bellamak, National president of ALRANZ.

“After forty years, it’s long past time for reform.”

In New Zealand, abortion is still in the Crimes Act.

The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has asked the New Zealand Law Commission to review the country’s abortion laws with the intention of treating abortion as a health matter rather than a criminal matter. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to reform New Zealand’s abortion laws, making abortion care available as a matter of right.

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s abortion laws, two certifying consultants must approve every abortion under a narrow set of grounds set out in the Crimes Act. Those grounds do not include rape, nor the most common reasons cited overseas: contraception failure and the inability to support a child.

Poll results show a majority of New Zealanders support the right to access abortion on request.

ASC Links Housing Shortage and Abortion Rate

Today the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) told the Justice Select Committee abortions increased among Aucklanders aged 25 – 35, possibly because of the rising cost of living, especially housing costs.

“Data from overseas has shown that the inability to support a child is one of the most common reasons for receiving abortion care. It makes sense that economic instability would drive abortion rates in New Zealand too,” said ALRANZ National president Terry Bellamak.

“Families want to give their child the best possible start in life, so it makes sense they would delay childbirth until they can do so, or limit their family size. That is the definition of acting responsibly, and families should be able to decide that for themselves.

“The ASC also noted that while uptake of long-acting reversible contraception has increased, funded options are ‘not the most user-friendly’. They noted the Jadelle implant was less popular because it was more difficult to remove.

“The health system should fund all contraceptive choices to provide the best possible option for the individual.”

The report shows 98% of abortion are still approved solely on the mental health ground or in combination with other grounds. The majority of people receiving abortion care are already parents at almost 60%.

In New Zealand, abortion is still in the Crimes Act.

The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has asked the New Zealand Law Commission to review the country’s abortion laws with the intention of treating abortion as a health matter rather than a criminal matter. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to reform New Zealand’s abortion laws, making abortion care available as a matter of right.

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s abortion laws, two certifying consultants must approve every abortion under a narrow set of grounds set out in the Crimes Act. Those grounds do not include rape, nor the most common reasons cited overseas: contraception failure and the inability to support a child.

Poll results show a majority of New Zealanders support the right to access abortion on request.

Safe Access Zones, Please

Safe Access Zones, Please

Students from Wellington Girls College have started a petition calling for safe access zones around Wellington Hospital, to prevent harassment by anti-choice protesters.

In a TVNZ article about it, a law professor says:

[T]he real issue here, of course, is that creating a no-protest zone sets a precedent for other protests to be banned, and I think that is a dangerous road to head down.

ALRANZ respectfully disagrees.

The purpose of safe access zones is to stop the targeted harassment of people who decide to receive abortion care. Some people feel intimidated, others angry, at the cheek of these elderly men with gory signs who know nothing whatsoever of their circumstances, presuming to think they know better than the pregnant person does.

In the first place, there is no suggestion of banning protests. Rather, the location of protests would be regulated.

This is manifestly not for the purpose of banning or preventing protests. The protesters would not be required to protest only at 2 AM outside Wellington city limits. They would be free to protest wherever they want, except within the safe access zone.

They could even protest in places that attract politicians who could actually change the laws they oppose, like Parliament. Very few politicians at the hospital.

In the second place, freedom of expression is not an absolute right. Some human rights are absolute, meaning their breach can never be justified, like the right not to be tortured, and the right not to be enslaved. Freedom of expression can be subject to a balancing exercise against the rights of others.

Freedom of expression is also self-reflective. This means your right has been properly exercised when you have said your piece, or carried your sign – it does not require the state to supply you with the audience of your choice.

Let’s say you believe vaccinations cause autism. You can speak your piece on a street corner, and carry your sign up and down the footpath outside the headquarters of a pharmaceutical company. But it is not part of your freedom of expression to accost someone trying to get their children vaccinated or get a flu jab.

It is open to the state to balance the rights of private people seeking private health care against those who want to disturb and confront them at a vulnerable time. The state has a valid interest in protecting people from such harassment while they are going about their business.

In the third place, would preventing this kind of harassment even be controversial if the people bearing the brunt of it were not women seeking abortion care? Pregnant women who are seeking health care our society has stigmatised for years?

The protesters apparently hope the rest of society agrees with them that these women do not deserve the protection of the law. Over the years, in places like the USA and Australia, police seem to have agreed with the protesters that the usual laws against assault and harassment don’t apply in the case of these women. That usually doesn’t change until a specific law, like one creating safe access zones, is passed.

It is long past time receiving abortion care, like receiving any other kind of health care, is seen for the private act it is, and protected accordingly. We hope Parliament will give due consideration to these students’ petition in the coming debate on abortion law reform.