Today there are celebrations all over New Zealand, marking the anniversary of one of the achievements that stokes the greatest pride in our country: first to recognise women’s right to vote.

There are other firsts that engender less pride, like the world’s highest rate of domestic violence.

Equality for women is a promise that has not yet been fulfilled.

This year the coalition government has taken steps to rectify New Zealand’s dismal 40 year record for not trusting women to decide for themselves whether they will carry a pregnancy to term. The PM and Minister of Justice have called for abortion to be treated as a health matter, rather than a criminal matter.

We welcome these steps, and hope they will lead to real change that will stand the test of time.

Women cannot be free or achieve equality unless they, and other pregnant people, can control their fertility. Pregnancy and childbirth come with serious consequences, physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Forcing these consequences on the unwilling is no longer acceptable.

Here at ALRANZ, we will raise a glass to Kate, then get back to work.