Human Rights Commission welcomes Law Commission report on abortion law reform

Human Rights Commission welcomes Law Commission report on abortion law reform

October 29, 2018

The Human Rights Commission supports advice from the Law Commission that abortion should be removed from the Crimes Act 1961 and incorporated into health services legislation.

In a submission to the Law Commission earlier this year, the Human Rights Commission said abortion should be treated as a health issue and not a criminal offence.

In addition to New Zealand organisations, United Nations treaty bodies have repeatedly called for countries to remove abortion from their criminal laws, including the Women’s Rights Committee most recently in July 2018.

The committee has called on the New Zealand Government to decriminalise abortion; to remove regulatory and administrative barriers that impede people's access to safe abortion services; and to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

“We are pleased to see the Law Commission has adopted an approach that reflects these concerns. The move from treating abortion as a criminal issue to a health issue is consistent with international human rights law and we look forward to the Government’s response to the report,” the Acting Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says.