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Law reform changes welcomed

Our preference is for the model which trusts women.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Media Release

Family Planning welcomes the Law Commission’s report released today which presents three alternative legal models for treating abortion as a health issue.

Regardless of model, the following changes have been proposed:

  • remove abortion from the Crimes Act
  • remove the requirement for abortions to be approved by two certifiying consultants (doctors).

Family Planning supports a number of additional changes reviewed in the report which are unrelated to which legislative model is progressed including:

  • Pregnant people should be able to access abortion services directly, without a referral;
  • General health law would ensure the safety of facilities and the requirement for a specific license for a facility performing abortions would be removed;
  • Abortions could be performed by any qualified health professional, not just a doctor;
  • Counselling would continue to be offered, but would not be mandatory.

Chief Executive Jackie Edmond says Family Planning’s preference is for the model which trusts pregnant people, in consultation with their health providers, to make their own health decisions.

Under this model, abortion offenses and statutory requirements would be repealed from the Crimes Act and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (CSA) Act. The decision to have an abortion would be made by a pregnant person in consultation with their health practitioner. Health practitioners would be bound by existing health regulation and professional standards, and subject to existing disciplinary processes.

This model would promote earlier, more equitable access to both medical and surgical abortion, remove stigma and recognise pregnant people's autonomy in reproductive health decisions. Under this model, abortion would be provided based on medical best practice and the needs of pregnant people. 

We applaud the Law Commission for the work they’ve done, their processes and their thorough consultation with health professionals working in reproductive health.

Read the Law Commission Report

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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