New Zealand implements ‘safe areas’ to silence pro-life activity near abortion facilities

In an effort to curtail free speech and stop pro-life activity, New Zealand is implementing “safe area” buffer zones around some of the country’s abortion facilities. The buffer zones have thus far been established around six facilities with five more approved to take effect starting in October and future plans to add more. 

In March 2022, lawmakers passed the Contraception, Sterilization, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Act, which allowed zones to be established. The law prohibits blocking an entrance to an abortion facility and photographing or videotaping anyone entering the facility, but also outlaws even approaching an abortion-minded woman to offer her help and alternatives, as well as handing out any pro-life fliers and engaging in any sort of pro-life “protest.”

The buffer zone law encompasses an area 150 meters from the entrance of the abortion facility, and anyone found in violation could be arrested and fined $1,000. 

Buffer zone laws like this one are extremely detrimental to women who have been coerced to abort or feel like abortion is their only option. Many are unaware of the help and support available to them at pregnancy resource centers and similar establishments. When a peaceful pro-life activist is barred from counseling a woman seeking help, the woman is left to feel that abortion is her only choice. While sidewalk counselors are routinely vilified by the abortion industry, women and families have spoken out in thanks for the help they have received from these pro-life witnesses. 

New Zealand is just one of many countries that is trying to push a pro-abortion agenda by limiting pro-life activity outside abortion facilities. For instance, in the United Kingdom it is now illegal to stand and silently pray outside some of the nation’s abortion businesses, while countries like Scotland and Northern Ireland are considering similar legislation.

“The despairing message that the government is giving to women entering these so called safe areas, is that this is a safe area to have your baby killed, with respect for your privacy and dignity,” said Ken Orr, spokesperson for Right to Life New Zealand. “Any woman entering a safe area alone, with nobody to love and help her, often abandoned and coerced by others, could be traumatised in the knowledge that it is now unlawful to offer her help to choose life for her baby.”

New Zealand authorities have indicated that the zones may soon be implemented around even more facilities. The zones are approved on a case-by-case basis, and facilities must first fill out an application in order to be considered for qualification.

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