ABORTION LAW REFORM ASSOCIATION OF NEW ZEALAND
21 January 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
40 YEARS AFTER ROE, IT’S TIME NZ DECRIMINALISED ABORTION
The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) today called on the New Zealand government to mirror the actions of the United States 40 years ago and decriminalise abortion here.
ALRANZ president, Dr Morgan Healey, said today that Tuesday’s anniversary of the 1973 Roe v Wade decision offered an important opportunity for the government and people to initiate discussions on a difficult topic, and begin to move toward decriminalisation.
“Roe v Wade remains a seminal and important moment in United States history. It gave women the right to privacy over their own bodies and ushered in a legal basis for access to safe and legal abortions. New Zealand continues to lag behind other Western countries in its outdated criminalisation of abortion,” said Healey.
The last major change to New Zealand abortion laws occurred in 1977, but that did not remove abortion from the Crimes Act. Instead, it set up a system of certifying consultants who have the final say on whether or not a woman meets the grounds upon which abortion is legal.
Dr Healey said the current state of play was no longer sufficient.
“Women in New Zealand deserve better than continued criminalisation of their reproductive decisions. Roe v Wade has not solved nor cemented the right to access abortion for all women in the US, but it has affirmed a legal framework upon which abortion is no longer a crime,” she said.
“The War on Women has shown that the right to basic reproductive services, particularly abortion, should never be taken for granted”.
“As ALRANZ has said many times before, the women of New Zealand should have the right to an abortion without having to rely on meeting a set of criteria,” Healey said. “It is time New Zealand began having some hard discussions about abortion and the continued cycle of stigma and shame created by criminalisation.”
For more information about ALRANZ visit www.alranz.org