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Abortion law reform

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Media Release

Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says abortion law reform is gaining momentum globally with South Korea the latest country to announce likely changes.  

Ms Edmond believes this global shift augurs well for change to abortion law here in  New Zealand and should give our Parliamentarians comfort that the time for change has come.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the country’s parliament must revise legislation to ease current abortion restrictions by the end of 2020. The Court says the country’s current abortion law is incompatible with the constitution and infirnges on women’s rights to self-determination.

The current ban – in place since 1953 – criminalises abortion except in cases of rape, incest or risk to health. Women who have abortions and doctors who perform them can be jailed.

“This mood for change is global – since 2000, more than 28 countries have changed their abortion law. In all but one circumstance the change has been to expand the legal grounds in which a woman can access abortion services. New Zealand is not one of these countries as yet. That change has come to Ireland and now to South Korea – before we have been able to make change here in New Zealand is embarrassing,” Ms Edmond says.

“We are encouraged however that the Government will act soon on the recommendations of the Law Commission to deliver an abortion service managed as a health service and trusting women to make their own decisions. We hope too this change will mean New Zealand is no longer an international outlier in its provision of this essential service.”

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

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