The Abortion Legislation Bill passed its third reading in Parliament, with 68 in favour and 51 votes opposing. This means the procedure will now be removed from the Crimes Act.
There will also no longer be any legal test for having an abortion earlier than 20 weeks, leaving a woman to self-determine whether to have the procedure, with advice from her doctor.
The Human Rights Commission, along with other organisations have called on Government to treat abortion as a health issue.
“As the Women’s Rights Commissioner, I welcome the historic vote in parliament last night to decriminalise abortion,” says Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo.
“Fundamentally, this is about New Zealand’s recognition of the rights of women and pregnant persons to self-determination over their bodies, lives, and dignity,” she adds.
“While the Bill and legal framework aren’t perfect, the Government must now ensure that women and pregnant people have access to reproductive health information and quality service throughout the country.”
The Commissioner also praised National MP Amy Adams’ impassioned speech during the abortion law debate.
“Amy Adams’ speech was a strong and articulate expression of why this law change was so necessary. Thank you, faafetai, kia ora wahine toa.”
The Abortion Legislation Bill now goes to the Governor-General for Royal Assent and will then be law.