Passage of Safe Areas Amendment Bill at third reading welcomed by ALRANZ

Passage of Safe Areas Amendment Bill at third reading welcomed by ALRANZ

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the passing of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill 2020 at its third and final reading today. The Bill passed with overwhelming cross-party support. ALRANZ believes this reflects the view of the majority of New Zealanders who believe women should be able to access healthcare services without being harassed.

ALRANZ would like to thank all those MPs who worked on the Bill, spoke in favour of it, and who voted for it at the third reading. In particular ALRANZ would like to thank Louisa Wall for introducing this Bill and being such a strong advocate for abortion rights in Aotearoa.

ALRANZ President Tracy Morison said “women and pregnant peoples’ bodies are constantly policed, and it is encouraging that this bill rejects this in favour of restoring women’s dignity and privacy when accessing abortion care”.

“This legislation will ensure that people are able to exercise their fundamental right to healthcare and are able to choose whether or not to end a pregnancy. This is the definition of reproductive justice”.

The passage of this bill will also protect healthcare providers from obstruction, intimidation and threats of violence when accessing their place of work.

ALRANZ hopes that the Ministry of Health creates safe areas in a timely fashion to ensure that people seeking abortion healthcare in Aotearoa have unimpeded access to the services they require.  


National Abortion Telehealth Service a step toward equitable reproductive healthcare

File:Abortion pill.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Early medical abortion involves using two medications to end a pregnancy – mifepristone and misoprostol. (Image: VAlaSiurua via Wikimedia Commons)



ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa commends the Ministry of Health’s plan for a funded national abortion telehealth service as a significant step toward expanding access to abortion care.



“This service will address some of the current inequities in abortion access, especially for those who have to travel long distances. As seen during the pandemic, abortion telehealth helps ensure timely care and reduces burdens of cost, travel, and time,” says ALRANZ spokesperson Dr Tracy Morison. The service will help reduce gaps in reproductive healthcare for low-income, Māori, Pacifica, and disabled people.



Following the COVID-19 pandemic, self-managed telemedicine abortion has increased globally. It has been demonstrated to be as safe and effective as when conducted in person in a medical facility. New Zealand’s service will provide consultations and medications for early medical abortions along with related services, including consultations, information, referrals, counselling, and after-care support.



In addition to helping reduce access barriers, telehealth abortion services provide consumers with privacy. Although support for abortion law reform is widespread, stigma persists. Morison says telehealth services allow consumers to avoid harassment, conscientious objection, or disclosing their choice if it is unsafe to do so.



ALRANZ applauds the national abortion telehealth service’s aim of providing free and flexible options and consumer-driven pathways. This initiative helps promote equitable sexual and reproductive healthcare for all New Zealanders.


Safe areas second reading a win for abortion care in Aotearoa

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the passing of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill 2020 at its second reading this morning. The strong cross-party support for the bill is particularly pleasing, with a 108-12 result in favour of passage.

Whilst ALRANZ supports the creation of safe areas, we acknowledge the Bill in its current form is not perfect. ALRANZ Executive Member Jacqueline Cavanagh said, “the proposed process for the establishment of safe areas is cumbersome and will cause undue delays”.

“ALRANZ intends to advocate for safe area restrictions applying to all premises where abortion healthcare is provided immediately from assent. It is unconscionable for consumers and providers of abortion healthcare to be exposed to potential harm due to unnecessary red tape.” 

ALRANZ would also like to remind the 12 MPs that voted against the second reading of this Bill that they are not voting on whether they support safe and legal abortion. The issue is whether abortion patients and providers should be protected from intimidation and the real threat of violence, not dissimilar from the threats those MPs have seen outside Parliament this week.

We urge these 12 MPs to reconsider their position and vote yes on the Bill in it’s the third reading. The passage of the Bill will demonstrate that Aotearoa is willing to protect consumers and providers of vital healthcare services.

ALRANZ Executive Member Jacqueline Cavanagh

Oral arguments on Mississippi abortion ban a dark day for women everywhere

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa deplores the apparent rolling back of the fundamental human right to bodily autonomy in the United States.

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa Executive Committee member Ella Shepherd said the arguments run in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization show a court “willing to control a woman’s most personal decisions about her body and her family”.

While devastating for American women, the likely outcome of Dobbs also demonstrates why Aotearoa cannot afford to become complacent.

Shepherd notes “this is a world where some countries remain steadfast in their attempts to erode and control reproductive freedoms. The arguments in Dobbs show how settled political realities can fall to partisan politics.”

In New Zealand, it is promising to see last year abortion was removed from the Crimes Act in a 68-51 majority vote. However, one of our two major parties is led by someone who still considers people who receive abortion care to be murderers.

Now more than ever it is important that Aotearoa continues to protect abortion rights and provide safe access to abortion care. ALRANZ denounces the path being taken by the Supreme Court in the United States and will remain vigilant to ensure a similar path is not taken in Aotearoa.

National Party’s new conscience not representative of Aotearoa’s values

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa notes the appointment of Christopher Luxon as new leader for the National Party, and Nicola Willis as deputy leader.

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa spokesperson Dr Tracy Morison said “Christopher Luxon’s well-publicised anti-abortion views are not representative of the values of mainstream New Zealanders, who overwhelmingly supported reform”.

Dr Tracy Morison, interim President of ALRANZ

Luxon said on Checkpoint following his appointment that his pro-life stance is not “a big issue” because abortion was decriminalized last year, and his deputy Nicola Willis is pro-choice.

Tracy Morison notes that “most people seeking abortion care in Aotearoa would disagree strongly with Christopher on this point”. Luxon’s refusal to answer whether he thought abortion was murder indicates he understands he is out of step with most New Zealanders.

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa wish Christopher Luxon and Nicola Willis well, but intend to monitor the extent that views such as his may have on the provision of safe and equitable abortion care in Aotearoa, particularly when considering the upcoming vote on the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill.

ALRANZ Gets New Interim President

Longtime ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak announced she is stepping down from the role. Dr Tracy Morison will take over as interim president until the next ALRANZ AGM.

In her final post, Bellamak said, “It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this organisation through the years in which our long-held purpose came to fruition. Abortion is now legal, it is health care, and it is the unquestioned right of every pregnant person up to 20 weeks gestation. When I reflect on abortion law reform, I am deeply proud of our country, and of our work.”

Bellamak also urged anyone who has experienced problems with reproductive health care to help ALRANZ hold the health system to account by using a new feature on the ALRANZ website. It facilitates people explaining what happened to them and helps ALRANZ to monitor the abortion care system.

Dr Morison is a senior lecturer in psychology at Massey University. Her research covers broad areas of health psychology, critical psychology, and feminism.

Dr Morison said, “Terry has done a sterling job steering ALRANZ these past years and her dynamic can-do leadership will be missed. At the same time, she’s stalwart in the reproductive rights movement and will still be very much involved in ALRANZ’s work. I’m honoured to stand in the gap as we plot our course in this new and hard-won post-reform phase.”

New Zealand reformed its abortion laws in 2020. The Government is in the process of ramping up the reproductive health care system to implement the new law.