ABORTION LAW REFORM ASSOCIATION OF NEW ZEALAND
MEDIA RELEASE 9 June 2015 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Politicians must act now on abortion law reform
The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) is calling on the politicians to reform the current abortion laws. Events in recent weeks, including Right to Life’s case against the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) (see here and here), a petition to parliament on requiring parental notification for under-16s and the need for the new 0800-Abortion phone service (New Zealand Abortion Assessment Clinic), once again highlight the draconian and fragile nature of our current laws.
“Women deserve comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care in this country, including decriminalised, accessible, affordable and reliable abortion services,” said ALRANZ President, Dr Morgan Healey.
“What we have now does not meet these standards. Instead, we have groups like, Right to Life, constantly trying to chip away at the current services in an attempt to limit access. They can do this because our laws are so tenuous and medically out-of date,” she said.
Similar the recent petition before Parliament around parental notification for under- 16s would be a step backwards in abortion services.
“The current law, which does not mandate parental notification, is one of the few positives of our current law,” said ALRANZ Secretary, Annabel Henderson Morrell.
“ALRANZ appreciates that this is a sensitive issue for parents. We understand that most young women do seek support from their parents or relatives when making this decision. Decreasing personal bodily autonomy is unlikely to reduce the number of young girls seeking abortions,” said Henderson Morrell.
“Ultimately, who bears the brunt of these attacks on abortion? Pregnant people. Personally, I am very tired of women being the ones who have to grin and bear the barriers of our current laws,” said Healey.
The new abortion service, the New Zealand Abortion Assessment Clinic, which was launched last week, seeks to tackle some of these barriers by taking a woman-centred approach to abortion care. It aims to decrease waiting times and increase access.
“ALRANZ is certainly a champion of what Dr Snook and his colleagues are doing, but it also exemplifies how ineffective the current laws are. A small group of medical professionals should not have to take it upon themselves to make a bad law work, said Healey.
“How much longer are we going to allow this to be an acceptable excuse for delaying law reform? It is time that politicians acted in the best interests of women. The time is now to decriminalise abortion,” said Henderson Morrell.
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