The Law Commission is seeking submissions from the public regarding the liberalisation of New Zealand abortion law.
In February, Andrew Little, Minister of Justice, requested that the Law Commission put all other projects aside in order to carry out its review on the abortion law.
According to its website, the Law Commission is an independent Crown Entity, which reviews New Zealand law and makes “recommendations for the reform and development of the law.”
Abortion law is to be treated as a “health issue” in the law, and this is the lens that the Law Commission will look at the current laws.
Acts, which govern the lawfulness and practicalities about abortion, are the Crimes Act, 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, 1977.
A single clause, in the Care of Children Act, 2004, section 38, declares that a female child of any age can give consent to an abortion as if she were an adult. This means that her parents or guardians do not need to be informed or their permission granted.
It is important to note that abortion is legal in New Zealand throughout all nine months of pregnancy when serious danger to the physical or mental health of the woman may occur. They only difference being that after 20 weeks, this danger would be deemed to be permanent.
Prior to 20 weeks, in addition to the above, an abortion may be obtained if the pre-born child has disability, the woman herself has an intellectual disability, or if the pregnancy is a result of incest. Sexual violation and the age of the woman, or girl, are not themselves reasons to obtain an abortion although they can be considered.
After 20 weeks abortion can lawfully occur to save the life of the mother.
Framing abortion as a health care issue focuses on a woman’s autonomy to make her own decisions, while completely disregarding the most important truth that she is carrying a human being that resides in her body but is not her body.
Pregnant mothers know that their role is to protect and nurture the little one growing within them. Maternity care looks after the health of both mother and baby. Incredible treatments are now available in-utero for pre-born infants who have medical conditions so that they can have the best start at life.
Why then is the dignity of the pre-born child and his or her right to life, to protection and health care removed because he or she is not wanted?
If the government were serious about wanting to treat abortion as a health issue they would acknowledge that abortion procedures poison and brutally destroy defencesless human beings and is therefore detrimental to their health. They would work to eradicate its practice from the health profession.
True maternal health care attends to the needs of both mother and pre-born child and never seeks to destroy one for the sake of the other.
Make your submission to the Law Commission today and be a voice for pre-born babies in New Zealand. The provision of your name or contact details is not required. Submissions close at 5pm on 18 May 2018.
Online at: abortionlaw.lawcom.govt.nz
Written submissions to:
Abortion Law Reform Law Commission
PO Box 2590 Wellington 6140
DX SP 23534