ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa is excited for the first day with safe areas outside abortion providers across Aotearoa New Zealand. From today, the six providers which provide the bulk of abortions in Aotearoa will have a protected zone of 150 metres outside their clinics.
This means patients and providers at two clinics in Auckland, and one each in Wellington, Greymouth, Christchurch and Dunedin will be protected from harassment by anti-choice protestors.
ALRANZ President Ella Shepherd said “the long-awaited implementation of safe areas recognises people deserve dignity and privacy when accessing and providing abortion services.” These are the first safe areas since the Safe Areas Amendment Bill passed its third reading in March 2022. ALRANZ remains hopeful the process will continue to be refined and expedited during the ongoing second and third round of applications.
However, Shepherd remains concerned a National-led government would stifle this progress on abortion access. “Eleven of the top 20 candidates in the National Party list voted no on either law reform or safe areas, or in the case of Christopher Luxon, have made their anti-choice views publicly clear. Progress on issues of reproductive justice such as access to abortion are definitely on the ballot this election.”
Safe areas can only be created by the Governor-General, by Order in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Health, in consultation with the Minister of Justice. Dr Shani Reti and Paul Goldsmith (who respectively hold the Health and Justice portfolios in the National Party) both voted no to abortion law reform in 2020.