Today is the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion. This has also been referred to as the International Day of Action for the Decriminalisation of Abortion, which as I gather is what it was called last year, the first year of the global campaign, started by Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) in solidarity with the September 28 Campaign in Latin America and the Caribbean, which began in 1990.
As well as supporting our sisters and trans folk around the world, especially those in countries where they are still dying from unsafe abortion or being imprisoned for accessing illegal abortion (or even for having a miscarriage that is believed to be an abortion), this is a good time to remember that here in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 2012, abortion is still in the Crimes Act.
As we argued yesterday in a shared media release with Family Planning and Women’s Health Action , while the majority of women in New Zealand have access to high-quality and safe abortion services, “we must ask if we are prepared to accept an essential women’s health service continuing to be managed as a crime. Abortion in New Zealand should be managed like any other health service.” (Hint: no, no we’re not).
It’s always good to look back to see where we’ve come from, and to remember how far we still have to go. For the past week we have run a series of ‘From Our Files’ posts, looking back to 1977 (the year the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act came into law) and the fight over the law, as well as the impact it had then on women’s lives.
Unfortunately there is no organised event in Wellington to mark the day. In Auckland, the AUSA Women’s Rights Officers have organised a fantastic event at Auckland University. We’ve heard of individuals hosting private events with friends (what an amazing idea!). Please let us know if you are involved with any events.