Friday, September 28 is International Decriminalise Abortion Day (that links to a map showing all the groups endorsing the campaign – we’re there!) In the lead-up to Friday, we’ll be posting a week’s worth of From Our Files posts looking back to 1977 and the fight over the law, as well as the impact it had then on women’s lives. We hope to include some other related posts, and invite our readers to send in contributions. You can contact the blog at

The first post, on Saturday 22 Sept., was an article from Broadsheet magazine by Sandra Coney titled “How the Abortion Law Isn’t Working.”

The second post, on Monday 24 Sept., was a commentary by ALRANZ’s national secretary Jan Clark on the newly released 1977 report of the Royal Commission on Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion.

This is the (mainstream media) cartoon edition. Thanks to the cartoonists who we have contacted who are happy to have their toons published. If those we haven’t reached have concerns about publication here, please write to us at

The whole series for Decriminalise Abortion Day is here.

“Cat Among the Pigeons”. By Eric Heath. This cartoon features Marilyn Waring, the then National MP, who had championed use by women of menstrual extraction kits. From 30 April 1979.

“The English patient,” by Garrick Tremain. In December 1997 to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of the abortion legislation a gathering was held in Parliament where the cost of the Abortion Supervisory Committee came under scrutiny. Health Minister Bill English said he would investigate spending the money on services to reduce abortions. This was the response by Tremain in the Otago Daily Times.

By Eric Heath, George Gair, a National MP who was liberal on abortion, on phone to PM Robert Muldoon, a conservative. Dominion 21 May 1979.

By Bob Brockie. Dr. Wall and the Knitting Needle. Gerry Wall, a conservative Labour MP introduced a bill aimed at shutting down the newly opened abortion clinic in Auckland. It was dubbed the Knitting Needle Bill. From Salient 1977.

By Jock Lea. The bells were ringing for Health Minister Gill (a conservative on abortion) & Diana Mason (a leader of SPUC) with objections from George Gair (National MP, and liberal on abortion rights). The Week, 1976.

By Walker. Between two stools. Sunday News, 1 May 1977.

By Bob Brockie. \Unworkable law. Published in NBR. Jan-July 1978. This cartoon was also used in Erich Geiringer’s book “Spuc ’em All”.