ALRANZ Hails UK Parliament Vote

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa applauds the United Kingdom Parliament on its historic vote to extend access to abortion and same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland.

“Northern Ireland’s draconian stance on abortion has put them at odds with accepted human rights conventions like European Convention on Human Rights, and judicial bodies like the UK Supreme Court,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.

“The law governing abortion in Northern Ireland, from 1861, prohibits all abortion care except to save the life of the mother. This is an embarrassment and a rebuke to the UK Parliament, which could have acted to extend the Abortion Act 1967 to Northern Ireland at any time since 2017. The UK is supposed to be a bastion of civil rights and freedoms, and yet the pregnant people of Northern Ireland lack basic bodily autonomy.

“Here is New Zealand we have been waiting for abortion law reform for over 40 years. Every day we still wait is an embarrassment and a rebuke to our own government.

“We welcome the Minister of Justice’s statement on Monday that abortion law reform is weeks away. Ongoing delay in putting forward this legislation affects people trying to access abortion care.

“Our current system is not fit for purpose, and its shortcomings prevent people receiving the care they need. How many people were refused care, how many people were unable to get referrals, how many were unable to travel to distant hospitals, and so had to continue a pregnancy they didn’t want?

“Everyone deserves the freedom to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent.”

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

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

Two-Thirds Support Abortion for Any Reason

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa applauds new research by the University of Auckland, showing two-thirds of New Zealanders support the right to receive abortion care for any reason.

“Polling on the issue has shown remarkable consistency over time, trending steadily upwards as reproductive rights are better understood,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.

“This shows that the people of New Zealand want an abortion provision system that treats abortion like all other forms of health care. The situation the poll question described was basically Model A from the Law Commission’s report.

“The question is whether Parliament will pass legislation that reflects the public will, or instead will continue to treat the New Zealand people with unjustified paternalism, and treat pregnant people as incompetent to make their own medical decisions.

“Everyone deserves the freedom to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent.”

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

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

2018 Abortion Statistics Show Opportunity for Improvement

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa said the abortion statistics released today by Stats NZ show little change in the general abortion numbers, but point to opportunities for improvement in health care if abortion law reform passes.

“These stats show a continuing trend toward abortion care at earlier gestations. This demonstrates people want abortion care as early as possible,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.

“Early medical abortion uses two different medicines taken 24 – 48 hours apart. Current law requires both medications to be taken in a licenced institution. This is unnecessary, as is shown by the good results in other countries where the pills are taken at home. Abortion law reform of the kind discussed by the Law Commission would allow early medical abortions to be completed at home, where the person feels comfortable as does not run the risk of miscarrying in transit.”

“Also, people in rural areas can find it difficult to receive abortion care due to the distance to the nearest provider, and the expense of funding travel and childcare. Early medical abortion care could bridge the gap in rural areas.

 “Everyone deserves the freedom to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent.

“We expect the New Zealand government to follow through on its commitment to the people of Aotearoa, who overwhelmingly support reproductive rights, according to recent polling by Newshub.”

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

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

ALRANZ Deplores Alabama’s Abortion Bill

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa deplores the Alabama senate’s passage of a bill that makes abortion care illegal even in cases of rape or incest.

“This legislation is draconian and cruel towards women and pregnant people, especially those who have survived rape or incest. It’s almost as though the Alabama senate does not consider women to be people,” said Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National president.

“In 2016 the UN Special Rapporteur on torture found denial of access to abortion care constitutes torture. It seems evident the USA’s former leadership in civil and human rights is at an end.

“Of course, rape is not a legal ground for abortion care under New Zealand law either, but at least the Government has committed to abortion law reform.

“Everyone deserves the freedom to decide for themselves whether and when to become a parent.

“We expect the New Zealand government to follow through on its commitment to the people of Aotearoa, who overwhelmingly support reproductive rights, according to recent polling by Newshub.”

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

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

ALRANZ Welcomes New Poll Results

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the results of the Newshub/Reid Research poll showing 69.9% of New Zealanders support the decriminalisation of abortion.

“The results show New Zealand continues its trend of greater support for abortion care as people learn more about it,” said ALRANZ National president Terry Bellamak.

“It is particularly encouraging that 36.7% support Model A. Model A treats abortion care just like any other kind of health care. You don’t have to show other kinds of health care are appropriate, because doctors do not make them available if they are not appropriate. Abortion would be treated the same.

“That 43.2% support Model B, in which pregnant people need the approval of a doctor to access abortion care, is another artefact of abortion stigma. Treating abortion as a special case is degrading to pregnant people who have to seek approval to make decisions about their own body, and expensive to the health system.

“Women and pregnant people make life-altering decisions every day, like deciding to get married, emigrate, change jobs, or get divorced, without the approval of some random authority figure. Deciding to receive abortion care is no different.”

It has been suggested the NZ First party has slowed the progress of a proposed abortion law reform bill through Cabinet. ALRANZ supporters demonstrated their disapproval at Parliament yesterday, wearing Handmaids’ costumes and carrying a sign that read ‘NZ First – Women Last’.

“NZ First needs to realise that forty years is too long to wait for law reform. If they are obstructing the process, they need to stop,” said Bellamak.

“Even NZ First supporters want abortion law reform. ALRANZ trusts women and pregnant people to decide for themselves whether to receive abortion care. If NZ First does not trust women with their own bodily autonomy, they need to explain why.”

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

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

ALRANZ Announces New Effort to Combat Abortion Stigma

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa announced a new effort to combat abortion stigma by creating a forum for people to share stories about their abortions anonymously.

The stories will appear on a new Facebook page, Abort The Stigma, and on Instagram at @abortthestigma.

“Abortion stigma is the projection of negative attributes on someone who has received abortion care, as an excuse for treating them badly,” said ALRANZ National president Terry Bellamak.

“It’s how anti-abortion groups justify targeting people for harassment outside abortion services when they are trying to access health care.

“One in four people who can get pregnant in New Zealand receive abortion care. Pretty much everyone knows someone who has accessed care. But people are very careful about whom they tell about their abortions. That is abortion stigma, too. If someone thinks they don’t know anyone who has received abortion care, they should ask themselves why someone might think they were not a safe person to tell.

“The page is a kind of homage to In Her Shoes – Women of the Eighth. It works the same way.”

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 care. 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 receive abortion care on request.