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Abortion: 66 per cent of Kiwis agree that a woman should have the right to choose

Abortion: 66 per cent of Kiwis agree that a woman should have the right to choose

Abortion: 66 per cent of Kiwis agree that a woman should have the right to choose

It’s an often divisive issue, but new research shows that the majority of New Zealanders would give women the option when it comes to an abortion.

New Zealand’s first Gender Attitudes Survey shows that 66 per cent of New Zealanders agree that a woman should have the right to choose whether or not she has an abortion – while 14% disagreed. A further 15% of New Zealanders were neutral and 5% didn’t know.

“We carried out this survey with Research New Zealand in late 2017 to get a snapshot of where we’re at in New Zealand on gender,” says National Council of Women Chief Executive and Gender Equal NZ spokesperson Gill Greer.

“So what we’re seeing is that two out of three New Zealanders support women being in control of their own decisions around abortion.”

The comprehensive recent report by the Law Commission presents three legal models for treating abortion as a health issue.

“All three models remove abortion from the Crimes Act, which is an absolute necessity if we are to achieve a truly gender-equal New Zealand.”

“Model A focuses most strongly on allowing pregnant people to be completely in control of their own decisions, lives and bodies – a basic right to which all New Zealanders should be entitled.”

“It would also work to remove the stigma and discrimination that surrounds abortion in New Zealand, by treating this issue as we would any other health issue.”

The National Council of Women, Gender Equal NZ’s lead organisation, supports the decriminalisation of abortion – and that abortion should be treated as a standard part of healthcare – safe, legal and accessible.

“It’s also important to acknowledge that trans and gender diverse people can also become pregnant and need access to abortion or other reproductive health services. We support increased access to these health services for all people” says Greer.  

“It is time we recognised women, and all pregnant people’s, rights to autonomy, choice and freedom.”

Over the Tasman

Abortion is common, safe, and the only criminalised listed medical procedure in Australia due to an archaic, flawed piece of legislation inherited from Victorian England.

Despite campaigns to decriminalize abortion, progress has been slow, and patchy across states.

A 2010 paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia references a survey in which 87 per cent of respondents indicated that abortion should be lawful in the first trimester (61% unconditionally and 26% depending on the circumstances).

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