ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa will present a petition to MPs tomorrow 2 June 2021 at 1pm. The petition calls for the Health Select Committee to alter the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill to create safe areas automatically around all abortion services and clinics.

Louisa Wall’s member’s bill sets out a process that was removed from the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 by a Supplementary Order Paper. The process requires an Order in Council on the advice of both the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Health to create just one safe area.

“The process in the bill is cumbersome and bureaucratic. It clearly intends safe areas to be created one at a time. It does not set out the application process or the criteria services must meet in order to get a safe area. Almost no other jurisdiction that has established safe areas has such a ridiculous process,” said ALRANZ President Terry Bellamak.

“Safe areas should be established automatically as soon as the bill is assented. Over 2400 people have signed on to the petition, and many organisations have echoed the call for automatic creation of safe areas in their submissions,” she added.

“People need to be able to access safe, routine, legal health care without having to run a gauntlet of bullies and busybodies.

“The select committee has heard the accounts of people accessing abortion services, and how they felt when protesters targeted them. Abortion patients should not be required to face down bullies in order to receive health care. No one else has to.”

New Zealand reformed its abortion laws in March of 2020, decriminalising the procedure and aligning it with other health care.