Our Open Letter
We, the undersigned, call upon the New Zealand Parliament to rectify the inaction of its predecessors and vote in favour of the Abortion Legislation Bill to amend the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 and other statutes.
Aotearoa New Zealand’s abortion laws have remained static for over forty years, in the face of profound cultural and societal change. The role of women in the 21st century bears little resemblance to what it was in 1977. Equality for women has made great strides. And yet, pregnant people still face an archaic, paternalistic, punitive, and discriminatory legal steeplechase when trying to access safe, routine health care.
We call upon Parliament to end the charade of forcing pregnant people to pretend mental illness, and certifying consultants pretending to believe them. We call upon our representatives to recognise the bodily autonomy of all people, including pregnant ones. We call upon them to heed the call of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to bring New Zealand into compliance with its obligations under the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which New Zealand ratified in 1985.
We acknowledge the Bill is not perfect. But the legal framework it will replace is so hopelessly outdated, so out of step with both common sense and fundamental human rights, that failure to pass the Bill would be a dereliction of duty on the part of the New Zealand Parliament.
The defeat of this Bill would be a signal to the people of New Zealand that its Parliament believes people cannot be trusted to make their own decisions about seeking health care.
After 43 years, it is time to legalise abortion.
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