New Zealand Justice Minister resists pressure to decriminalize abortion
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New Zealand Justice Minister resists pressure to decriminalize abortion

In the wake of several thousand calling for abortion reform legislation, New Zealand Justice Minister Amy Adams says she will not consider reforms to New Zealand’s existing abortion laws. Abortions are currently illegal under the Crimes Act except in cases where the continued pregnancy would pose an alleged threat to the physical or mental health of the mother, cases of fetal abnormality, or cases of incest. According to Family Life International NZ:

Up until 20 weeks gestation, a mother may abort her preborn child for the following
reasons:

  • Physical or mental disability;
  • Incest;
  • Intellectual disability of the woman/girl.

The following can be taken into account, but are not in themselves grounds for abortion:

  • Age of the mother (beginning or end of child-bearing years)
  • Sexual violation (rape).

The current call for reform is due to the launching of a Change.org petition by student Sarah Batkin, who is attempting to initiate change to the illegal status of abortions.

Justice Minister Adams said that “wholesale reform of abortion law is not something I’m currently looking at.”

In 2015, 13,155 abortions were performed in New Zealand, with 23 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years, according to Carol Slappendel, Acting Government Statistician. This is the lowest abortion rate the country has seen since 1994.

The current abortion law is designed to discourage abortion and prevent dodgy abortion practices.

Ken Orr, spokesperson for New Zealand Right to Life, told Live Action News in a statement:

Right to Life applauds Justice Minister Amy Adams for rejecting pressure from Family Planning to decriminalise the killing of the unborn and accept it as “an essential part of reproductive health.” Right to Life requests that the government defund Family Planning which is at the forefront of the war on women in promoting a culture of death in New Zealand.

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