New Zealand’s Opposition Leader Wants To Decriminalise Abortion Completely

If Jacinda Arden wins the election on 23 September then abortions will no longer be part of the Crime Act

New Zealand's Opposition Leader Wants To Decriminalise Abortion Completely

by Florence Ogram |
Published on

New Zealand’s opposition leader, Jacinda Arden, promises to end strict laws on abortion if she wins the election later this month.

In a law implemented over 50 years ago in New Zealand, abortion was made illegal unless there is a risk of the foetus being handicapped, or there is a danger to the pregnant woman’s life, physical or mental health. This has resulted in many doctors and women having to lie to receive the termination.

During an election debate against Bill English, Arden was greeted with cheers of delight and applause after demanding that abortion 'shouldn’t be in the Crime Acts.' She said, 'people need to be able to make their own decisions' although she made clear that there would still be regulations on the procedure.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English, a devout Catholic, believes that the current abortion legislations should not be changed as they are 'broadly satisfactory.' During the debate English said, 'I support the current law and I would not set out to change it.'

Arden’s political aims has sparked some controversy. New Zealand Family First Spokeswoman Marina Young was opposed to the potential changes claiming that the current laws protected both women and children. She said, 'any changes would potentially pave the way for late term abortions, aborting children on the basis of their gender, aborting those with disabilities e.g. Down syndrome”.'

-In the UK, there are on-going calls and protests to decriminalise abortion. Current legislations permit abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. However, there is no time limit on the procedure if pregnancy causes risk to woman’s life or foetal abnormalities. The British Medical Association are currently fighting for the law to change. They state that the decision should be a medical one, not a criminal and a change in policy supports women’s rights.

-Abortion laws in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland still stand as the most restrictive than any country in Europe. The law only allows the procedure if the mother’s life is at risk.

-There are still six countries that don’t allow women to have life-saving abortions, including Vatican City and Chile.

-39.22% of the World’s population have no restrictions on abortion, with countries in the Global North and central and Eastern Asia generally having the most liberal abortion laws.

All will be decided for New Zealand after their general election on the 23rd September

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Follow Florence on Instagram at @florenceogram

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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