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.