ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the first reading of Louisa Wall’s member’s bill, the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill 2020. First reading is expected to occur today.

“ALRANZ supports the creation of safe areas, but we believe the bill should be changed to establish safe areas at all premises where abortion is provided, from assent,” said ALRANZ President Terry Bellamak. “The process in section 13C of the bill is truly ridiculous – to create one safe area you need an order in council on the recommendation of Cabinet’s two busiest ministers in consultation with each other.

“The government should be trying to prevent harm from occurring, not waiting for people to be inevitably harmed before addressing the issue.

“Freedom of expression does not include the right to target a captive audience and force them to listen to your message. People tell me they find the harassment outside the abortion services intimidating and upsetting.”

Most of the states in Australia have laws creating safe areas, as do some states in the USA and some municipalities in the UK.

New Zealand reformed its abortion laws in March of 2020, decriminalising the procedure and aligning it with other health care.