Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
7 July 2016
MPs MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION: UNDER 16s WON’T BE FORCED TO TELL PARENTS ABOUT ABORTIONS
Young people in New Zealand will not be obliged to tell their parents if they are having an abortion – and the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand says that’s the right decision.
The Justice and Electoral Select Committee considered a petition from Hillary Kieft, who asked for mandatory parental notification for people under 16 seeking abortions. (The committee’s report is available here.)
MPs considered a range of submissions and chose to focus on the needs of young people confronting an unwanted pregnancy.
“We are relieved the year-long, drawn-out process the Select Committee has engaged in has resulted in a decision that does not punish the most vulnerable teens,” ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak says.
“Any young person having an abortion should ideally have the full support of their parents – but in some cases, that can put them at risk.
“Mandatory reporting would increase the fear and stress on young people who are already in a vulnerable position.”
The committee noted the current presumption that health agencies will make the information available to parents, unless the young person asks them not to do so.
They also noted that only about 60 abortions a year are performed on people under 16 – and of those, fewer than 10 choose not to tell their parents.
“It is important to make sure support is available to these young people, and we welcome the Committee’s recommendations around offering counselling, strengthening oversight and guidelines,” Ms Bellamak says.
“We agree there is a need for best-practice guidelines to be drawn up, and that young people who choose not to inform their parents should be treated with special care.
“But we also believe those best-practice guidelines should be prepared for all people seeking abortions, because New Zealand’s abortion laws are still outdated and treat abortion as a crime – not a health issue.”
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