Justice Minister of New Zealand Andrew Little has introduced a new bill this week for formally legalizing abortion in the country. The new law would help to turn abortion status from criminal issue to health issue. This move would help to provide access to abortion in the country wherein till recently only abnormal fetus can be aborted along with cases of incest and risk to mother’s health. While announcing the law, Little stated that safe abortion should be regarded as a health issue and women have the right to choose what they want to do with their body.
Under the Bill’s terms which will be read out this week women that are less than 20 weeks pregnant can obtain an abortion without approval of a registered doctor by referring themselves to an abortion provider. But women that are more than 20 weeks pregnant would need to seek the counsel of a doctor who would regard abortion appropriate for her physical and mental condition. He stated that it is time to change the law as abortion is the only medical procedure that is considered a crime in the country. It will bring the law in line with developed countries and modernize abortion laws.
The law has brought the nation’s anti-abortion campaign groups like Voice for Life out on the street which accused the government of wish fulfillment for tiny minority groups though pro-choice groups welcomed the proposed legislation. By comparison UK based abortion laws are limited to 24 weeks of pregnancy though terminations can be carried out even after that due to health conditions. Prime Minster stated that three bill versions were considered before making the final decision and the current version has best chance of getting accepted. Abortion law is a hot topic in many countries and lawmakers are trying to reduce access to them. But in the US abortion is legal in all states under Supreme Court’s 1973 decision.