National MPs, pro-life groups, say abortion law too ill-defined

Radio NZ News 29 July 2020
Family First Comment: Justice Minister Andrew Little said there was “no such thing as full-term abortion, people who say that are idiots.”… Family First founder, Bob McCoskrie said Little was wrong and needed to check the law itself. “Andrew Little has admitted that late term abortions up to birth could happen under the new law and make no mistake, the law has been drafted in such a way that it can legally be obtained up to birth. That is the legal outcome of the law change. He can argue all he wants, he can call us all the names he wants to but we will go on the facts… The terms physical health, mental health and wellbeing are not defined. So given that one of the intents of the law was to make abortion more accessible, it is difficult to imagine many instances in which an abortion can now be refused.”
Here’s the full facts: www.LoveThemBoth.nz
Pro-life groups and some National MPs believe the new abortion law is so ill-defined it allows women to end pregnancies right up to birth.
The emotive subject is back in the spotlight after National MP Harete Hipango published a Facebook post accusing the prime minister of supporting abortion up to full-term.
The abortion reform legislation, which takes it out of the Crimes Act, was passed by a conscience vote in Parliament in March.
National list party MP Agnes Loheni who was on the select committee for the abortion legislation said the criteria to have an abortion after 20 weeks is ill-defined.
“What is written in our our legislation definitely supports that you could have an abortion post 20 weeks up to birth. If you look at the words yourself – there are no hoops to jump through because it is so broad and ill-defined. In my view the unborn child now is the equivalent of having an appendix removed,” she said.
But, Justice Minister Andrew Little said there was “no such thing as full-term abortion, people who say that are idiots.”
The law requires one health practitioner to consult with another and agree an abortion is the right decision for a women who is more than 20 weeks pregnant and must consider: legal, professional, and ethical standards; the pregnant person’s physical health, mental health and overall well-being; and the gestational age of the foetus.
Data from Statistics New Zealand showed abortions beyond 20 weeks are rare.
In 2019, there were 12,948 abortions and 70 of them were over 20 weeks.
Little said abortions after 20 weeks were unlikely to happen, but if they were it would be because the mother’s health or life was at risk. If you are not more than 20 weeks pregnant, a qualified health practitioner may provide abortion services.
Loheni said despite only a small number of woman likely to need an abortion after 20 weeks, the law still allowed it to happen within the criteria.
Family First founder, Bob McCoskrie said Little was wrong and needed to check the law itself.
“Andrew Little has admitted that late term abortions up to birth could happen under the new law and make no mistake, the law has been drafted in such a way that it can legally be obtained up to birth. That is the legal outcome of the law change. He can argue all he wants, he can call us all the names he wants to but we will go on the facts,” he said.
McCoskrie believed the terms around abortions over 20 weeks were unclear.
“The terms physical health, mental health and wellbeing are not defined. So given that one of the intents of the law was to make abortion more accessible, it is difficult to imagine many instances in which an abortion can now be refused.”
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/422239/national-mps-pro-life-groups-say-abortion-law-too-ill-defined
LISTEN TO AUDIO
https://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20200729-0723-national_party_throws_abortion_back_into_spotlight-128.mp3
https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018756997/national-party-throws-abortion-back-into-spotlight

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