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Law change protects right to access health care

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

National News

The passage of legislation enabling safe areas around abortion providers helps protect people’s fundamental right to access health care without being harassed, judged or intimidated, Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says.

The Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill passed its third and final reading today by a margin of 108 votes in favour to 12 against.

“Just this month, we saw a survey which shows that New Zealanders overwhelmingly support the right to choose to have or not have an abortion. There is an expectation that people should be able to make this decision for themselves, based on their personal circumstance and supported by clinical information and advice. Protest against this right to access abortion has no place at clinics where they are intimidating and can be upsetting,” Ms Edmond says.

“Protests outside of abortion services also raise questions around privacy and confidentiality when accessing a health care service. I cannot think of another example where people accessing a health service are watched by another group of people when trying to access the service.”

Ms Edmond noted that tonight’s vote comes almost exactly two years since the passing of the abortion reform legislation.

Over the past two years, there has been some progress to expand access to abortion services, including the recent announcement of a national abortion telehealth service run by Family Planning and Magma Healthcare.

This new law is another positive step toward equitable access to abortion services because it recognises abortion as a health service that people should be able to access

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