ALRANZ Presents Open Letter to Parliament

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa will deliver an open letter to Parliament to MPs at 1pm today, Thursday 12 March 2020, on Parliament’s forecourt.

The letter acknowledges the Abortion Legislation Bill is not perfect, but is still an improvement on the status quo.

ALRANZ’s open letter has garnered over 1500 signatures in total. The letter and signatures can be viewed here. Signatories include Michele A’Court, Wellington City Council members Rebecca Matthews and Tamatha Paul, the Rt Hon Helen Clark, and others.

 “The days when pregnant people have to lie about their mental health to get the health care they need must come to an end,” said Terry Bellamak, National president of ALRANZ.

“Even without safe areas, this bill promises to reduce delays and make abortion care more accessible everywhere. The current system is a postcode lottery, with people in the main centres enjoying almost reasonable access and people in the provinces suffering delays, trouble, and expense.

“This situation has continued for over 40 years. It has to stop.”

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

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s current 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.

 

ALRANZ Salutes Second Reading Passage of Abortion Bill

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa salutes the New Zealand Parliament’s passing of the Abortion Legislation Bill at second reading, 81 to 39. 

“We are really pleased the margin was so large,” said ALRANZ National president Terry Bellamak.

“The support the bill is receiving in Parliament reflects its support among New Zealanders in general. Polls have consistently shows support for abortion for any reason above 65%.

“Reproductive rights are mainstream, as Dame Margaret Sparrow’s winning Senior New Zealander of the Year demonstrates. Our nation is ready to finally bring our abortion laws into the 21st century.”

Jan Logie’s speech in favour of the bill was interrupted by an anti-abortion heckler. Parliamentary security ejected the offender while Logie pointed out he had unintentionally provided evidence of anti-abortion harassment and the need for safe areas, a point reinforced by the attack on Green Party co-leader James Shaw by an abortion opponent last year.

“Ruth Dyson’s speech was really inspiring. She engaged in some radical truth telling in her speech when she called out Sir Bill English for making false accusations of doctors gruesomely killing babies in abortions at later gestations, a claim Dame Margaret Sparrow characterised as scaremongering,” Bellamak noted.

“It was a night to be proud of our Parliament.”

See ALRANZ’s analysis of the post-select committee bill here: http://alranz.org/the-abortion-legislation-select-committee-reports-back-bismarck-vindicated/

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

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s current 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.

ALRANZ Co-sponsors National Day of Action

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa is co-sponsoring a National Day of Action – Our Bodies, Our Choices, with Fem Force, Victoria University Feminists Organisation, NCW, and HELP.

“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. We will not stand for any more passing the buck. Failure is not an option,” said ALRANZ National President Terry Bellamak.

She added, “New Zealand has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the OECD right now. It’s an embarrassment for a country that likes to think of itself as progressive. People overseas have told me they look at our record for being the first Western nation to recognise women’s right to vote, and then look at our abortion laws, and ask ‘what happened to New Zealand?’

“If the new bill passes as it stands, New Zealand will still have comparatively strict abortion laws. Even in the age of the #metoo, both current law and the new bill specifically allow health practitioners to refuse emergency contraception to sexual assault survivors on the ground of ‘conscience.’

“Politicians have taken women and pregnant people for granted for too long. It is time to demand change to reproductive health laws.”

Find out more about the events nationwide:

Auckland  https://www.facebook.com/events/2712230342161194/

Wellington https://www.facebook.com/events/494218631306305/

Christchurch https://www.facebook.com/events/849052715509125/

Dunedin https://www.facebook.com/events/462662961058821/

See ALRANZ’s analysis of the post-select committee bill here: http://alranz.org/the-abortion-legislation-select-committee-reports-back-bismarck-vindicated/

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

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s current 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.

ALRANZ Welcomes Select Committee Report

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the Abortion Legislation Select Committee’s report, released today. 

The select committee made a few significant changes to the bill.

“A section had been added creating a positive duty on the part of the Minister of Health to ensure reproductive health services and related counselling are available in every part of New Zealand. That is very positive,” said ALRANZ  National president, Terry Bellamak.

“Decriminalisation is crucial, but without good access in all areas of the country, the inequities we see now between urban and rural, wealthy and struggling, will continue.”

Bellamak also noted some changes for the worse.

 “This version of the bill increases restrictions on abortions after 20 weeks, requiring another health practitioner to be consulted, and adding elements to the test. This is an unnecessary burden on people with wanted pregnancies that are in medical trouble, that may lead to unnecessary delay. No one chooses an abortion at later gestations.

“They have also added a five yearly review to examine whether sex-selective abortions are happening in New Zealand. There is no evidence that they are, so that seems like a waste of time and money.

“But the worst part is adding a section explicitly allowing conscientious obstruction in cases of health practitioners supplying contraception after sexual assault. This stigmatises sexual violence even more, and puts survivors on notice that their health and wellbeing is secondary to the psychological comfort of health practitioners in the eyes of the government.”

On the whole, however, ALRANZ believes the statutes the bill is amending are so flawed that it would be irresponsible for Parliament to fail to pass the bill.

See ALRANZ’s analysis of the post-select committee bill here: http://alranz.org/the-abortion-legislation-select-committee-reports-back-bismarck-vindicated/

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

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s current 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.

 

NHS Report on Women’s Health and NZ Law Reform

Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) has released a report on the state of women’s health in the UK. The report calls for the NHS to take a strategic approach to prevent disease and promote wellness across people’s lifespans.

ALRANZ notes the report recommends measures the NZ Ministry of Health should consider when implementing new abortion law reform legislation, should it pass.

“The report notes that controlling one’s own fertility is a key factor in promoting good health. It calls for easy access to contraception, abortion, and fertility treatment so that pregnancy occurs if and when someone wishes to be pregnant,” said ALRANZ National president, Terry Bellamak.

“The report calls for emergency contraception and oral contraception to be made available on pharmacy store shelves for purchase, and for free over the counter, with no random pharmacist consultation. That sounds like a good start.”

With respect to abortion, the report calls upon the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) to make teaching abortion skills part of its core curriculum. ALRANZ believes the Royal Australia and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) should follow RCOG’s lead.

“The report recommends a telemedicine service for assessment of those who wish to receive early medical abortions, with the drugs made available at local pharmacies. It also recommends patients be allowed to take both sets of pills at home. This would be a huge benefit in New Zealand because of the long distances people in remote areas need to travel to access health care. Distance is a huge driver of inequity in our current system. We hope the Ministry of Health takes up the idea,” said Bellamak

“We note the report also calls for people to able to access abortion without harassment. Current proposals in the Abortion Legislation Bill around establishing safe areas are ridiculously cumbersome, because they require a separate Order in Council for every clinic that needs protection. Which, let’s face it, is all of them.

“We hope the Abortion Legislation Select Committee and the Ministry of Health consider the report carefully.”

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

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.

Abortion Decriminalised in Northern Ireland

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa congratulates Northern Ireland for decriminalising abortion.

“Northern Ireland had some of the most punitive and restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Now, they finally have the same laws as the rest of the United Kingdom,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.

In July, the UK Parliament voted to extend abortion and same-sex marriage laws to Northern Ireland if its devolved government was not restored by 21 October. Unionist parties tried, but were unable to reconvene today when nationalist parties left the chamber.

“This was a long time coming for Northern Ireland. Some activists in the North said they felt a bit left behind by changes in the Republic of Ireland. But now their laws are like the UK’s – much more functional and patient-friendly than the Republic’s,” said Bellamak.

“Abortion will no longer be a criminal offence. Northern Ireland’s abortion laws will finally exit the Victorian era. The activists who have been working to make this happen for many thankless years have a lot to be proud of today.

“Now both countries on the Emerald Isle have better, more modern, and more functional laws than New Zealand. We really need to get on with law reform.”

The New Zealand government has presented a reform bill to select committee.

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

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.