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.