New Zealand Bill Aims to Decriminalize Abortions

The debate in New Zealand surrounding the legalization of abortion has erupted today in response to the New Zealand government introducing a bill that would decriminalize abortions nationwide, giving people the option to terminate a pregnancy up to twenty weeks. The bill was a significant part of Prime Minister Jacinda Arden’s campaign agenda, which was driven by largely feminist ideals. The 1960s Crime Act in New Zealand criminalized abortion, making it extremely difficult for an individual to get an abortion. Current law requires that, in order to get an abortion approved, two doctors certify that the pregnancy would endanger the physical or mental health of the mother if it was not terminated. Despite the major changes from current law that the bill proposes, abortion rights activists have been dissatisfied with the bill. Groups such as the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand and Family Planning have criticized the legislation for the twenty-week limit. Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond called the bill “a missed opportunity to put all women front and centre of the process.” New Zealand’s restrictive abortion laws often lack international coverage due to the contrasts between the law and what occurs in society. Many individuals end […]

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