ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa welcomes the long-awaited implementation of safe areas around six abortion providers in Aotearoa New Zealand. Safe areas will go a long way to protecting those accessing or providing abortion services from harassment within 150 metres of a clinic. ALRANZ thanks the Labour government for putting in the hard work and getting some safe areas over the finish line.
The safe areas protect two providers in Auckland, and one each in Wellington, Greymouth, Christchurch and Dunedin. The safe areas implemented will protect the most consistently harassed locations, the ones that provide the bulk of abortions in Aotearoa.
ALRANZ President Ella Shepherd said “the implementation of safe areas goes a long way to full recognition of the fact abortion is healthcare and not a crime, and people deserve dignity and privacy when accessing abortion services.”
This commitment from the Labour Party stands in stark contrast to many in the opposition party. ALRANZ remains concerned that many in the National Party caucus hold anti-choice views. The implementation of safe areas demonstrates it is not merely a matter of law reform, but rather actions of the executive, that truly protects abortion access. Christopher Luxon is yet to provide adequate assurances that progress on abortion rights is possible under a National-led government.
While this is a sign of significant progress for abortion rights in Aotearoa, the implementation of safe areas has been a slow process. These are the first safe areas since the Safe Areas Amendment Bill passed its third reading in March 2022. ALRANZ remains hopeful the process will continue to be refined and expedited during the ongoing second round of applications, and the third round of applications (opening 7 August 2023) will not be as slow.