The Herald reports:
A Labour MP has taken the controversial step of proposing a new law to legalise abortion on request for women up to 24 weeks into a pregnancy.
Steve Chadwick, a midwife and former associate health minister, is gauging support for what would be the first changes to abortion law since 1978.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee has repeatedly urged Parliament to review the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, which states the legal grounds for abortion, but MPs avoid the issue.
A judge has questioned the lawfulness of most abortions.
Last year, 17,550 abortions were done, compared with 17,940 in 2008.
Mrs Chadwick’s Abortion Reform Bill would take abortion out of the Crimes Act, making it solely a health matter and a choice for the patient, at least in the first part of pregnancy.
I support this. We have had de facto abortion on demand for the last two to three decades. Around 99.9% of termination requests are granted. Either the law should reflect the reality or the law should be enforced properly.
I have no desire to live in a country where women are refused legal abortions, and have to flee to Australia to terminate a pregnancy and/or have a termination done illegally and unsafely.
I would like to see fewer abortions, but I believe the way you achieve that is through education and health services, and reforming the Adoption Act.
But because MPs were divided 50-50 on abortion, she would not proceed until sure of majority support for the bill – in what would be a conscience vote in the House – to go to a select committee. She had not yet sought Labour caucus approval to put the bill in the parliamentary ballot.
Steve may not be doing Labour many favours with this bill. While I support it, there would be fierce opposition, and Labour could end up being seen as obsessed with carrying on its social engineering reforms of the last Government.
Prime Minister John Key did not answer Weekend Herald questions about the bill yesterday. Labour leader Phil Goff said he hadn’t given the matter much thought.
Ha. I can just see the conversation. Hey John/Phil – I’ve got a journalist on the phone wanting to know if you will support Steve Chadwick’s bill to legalise abortion on demand …. long pause ….. hello ….. hello …. are you still there …. door opens to find an empty room and a smashed window.