New Zealand takes steps on abortion rights
Meanwhile...in New Zealand, lawmakers have voted to decriminalize abortion.
In New Zealand, parliament has just voted to decriminalize abortion, considered until now as a crime punishable by 14 years in prison. Amy Adams, a member of the New Zealand Parliament and former Minister of Justice, stated, “It is time for this House to understand that women have the right to control their bodies and that this House and our lawmaking does not have the right to intervene in that. And I want to vote for this legislation in the belief that it will mean for women, finally, they won’t have to face the shame, the delays, the lack of equity of access to receive a service that every woman in New Zealand is entitled to have.”
Andrew Little, the current Minister of Justice, annouced, “The main objective is to shift abortion out of the criminal legal framework that it sits in at the moment and make it a health issue for women when they’re making this very difficult decision when they're confronting the decision about whether to continue with a pregnancy or not.” Since 1961, the voluntary termination of a pregnancy has been legal only in the case of incest or a high-risk pregnancy. Women therefore had to have this proved by two different doctors. The physical or mental health of the pregnant woman was the reason given for 97% of the 14,000 abortions carried out in New Zealand in 2018. In order to have an abortion, most women were forced to lie.
He continued, “It is time to move that framework into the 21st century and to reflect modern values and the way many New Zealanders, most New Zealanders, live their lives, which is they do want, and women do want, to be able to make that decision, consult the health professional of their choice and not have to go through unnecessary barriers and, most importantly, not have to, in a sense, lie about their mental health state in order to make this decision.” Of the 203 countries analyzed by the WHO in 2019, so before New Zealand’s decision, 55 countries in the world authorized abortion simply on request.