(TVNZ) The Greens wants to decriminalise abortion and assert the right of women to make decisions regarding their own health, the party has announced today.
Abortion is currently a crime under the Crimes Act and is only legal if two consultants agree that the pregnancy would seriously harm the woman’s mental or physical health or that the foetus would have a serious disability.
“The Green Party believes the time has come for New Zealand to take an honest approach to abortion, to treat it as the health issue it is, and remove it from the crime statutes,” women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.
“The fact that 99% of abortions are approved on ‘mental health’ grounds and that rape is not grounds for an abortion reveals the dishonesty of the current legal situation,” she said.
The Greens say that by keeping abortion a crime, New Zealand has created an unnecessary stigma that has led to delays, erratic access to terminations depending on where you are in the country, and unnecessarily late terminations.
“Decriminalisation will reduce the stigma and judgement that surrounds abortion, and enable abortions to be performed earlier in pregnancy, which is safer for women,” Ms Logie says.
The Green Party policy wants to allow terminations after 20 weeks gestation only when the woman would otherwise face serious permanent injury to her health or in the case of severe foetal abnormalities.
Ms Logie says the policy would ensure women have access to neutral counselling and that women who choose to continue with their pregnancy are given more support and are not financially penalised for doing so.