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Abortion law reform: Select Committee report, next steps

February 21, 2020 at 1:10 PM

From the NZFVC

The Select Committee has reported on the Abortion Legislation Bill. The Committee recommended by majority that the legislation be passed with amendments.

The omnibus Abortion Legislation Bill would decriminalise abortion, better align the regulation of abortion services with other health services, and modernise the legal framework for abortion. Justice Minister Andrew Little introduced the bill in August 2019. More than 25,000 submissions were received through the public consultation process. The Abortion Legislation Committee's report (14 February 2020) describes their proposed amendments.

ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa has published an analysis of the post-Select Committee bill. They describe what they identify as some positive changes, including creating a positive duty on the part of the Minister of Health to ensure reproductive health services and related counselling are available in every part of New Zealand. They also set out what they identify as some negative changes, including concerns about the provisions relating to conscientious objection including in cases of sexual violence. ALRANZ said "On the whole, however, ALRANZ believes the statutes the bill is amending are so flawed that it would be irresponsible for Parliament to fail to pass the bill." 

The Bill now awaits its Second Reading.

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Category: Policy and Legislation