Media Release 24 March 2021
Politicians will today vote for a new law which will allow employees to be eligible for three days of bereavement leave following the unplanned end of pregnancy by miscarriage or stillbirth. Sadly, politicians have rejected calls for the leave to be extended to allow support for women with post-abortion grief.
“We absolutely support this bill but requested that it be extended to cover post-abortive women, because all women matter. The loss and grief experienced by parents as a result of miscarriage absolutely deserves recognition, however, the grief and loss of post abortive women needs to be validated too, because there can be many factors that surrounds one’s decision to have an abortion. Post abortive women need to know that it is okay to seek help and take time to grieve, and to allow their body to heal.”
“Women are being persuaded to believe that an abortion is not a loss of life – but that is certainly not the experience of many post-abortive women, and their loss should not be ignored,” says Marina Young, founder of the Buttons Project and spokesperson for Family First NZ.
When lodging the original bill, Labour MP Ginny Anderson said, “I think [abortion] would be [grounds], but I would like this Member’s Bill to pass.”
“Bereavement leave for both miscarriages – often referred to by medical specialists as ‘spontaneous abortion’ – and abortions would allow women the opportunity to seek the support and counselling that they may need at this time. We should never under-estimate the grief and loss that a woman personally experiences from either a miscarriage or an abortion,” says Marina Young.
“I ask that we walk gently in people’s lives, as we do not know the journey that they have been on to lead them to where they are at this moment, and allow post abortive women’s grief and loss to be acknowledged.”
[A research paper for health professionals which reviews international evidence up to 2020 about the relationship between abortion and the physical and mental health of women says that abortion is associated with a wide range of adverse physical and psychological outcomes, and it is essential that women are made fully aware of all the risks. The report has been sent to all DHBs.]