The majority of New Zealanders think women considering have the right to be fully informed of the medical risks of – and the alternatives. 

In the poll of 1,000 people undertaken by Market Research this month, respondents were asked “Would you support a law that would require a woman considering an abortion to first see a doctor, who is not an abortion provider, to be informed of the medical risks and alternatives to abortion?” 

64% supported this proposed law, 29% disagreed, and the remainder (8%) were either unsure or refused to answer. Interestingly, women were slightly more in favour of informed consent than men.

Now my company did this poll for . I was very surprised by the result, especially the fact more women (65%) than men (62%) were in favour of the proposed law.

I should make clear that my personal position is that the law should allow abortion on demand, during the period a feotus would not be viable. I would have answered “no” to the poll question.

When the result came out, I asked a couple of female friends what they thought, as I was puzzled that more women said they supported a law effectively making it more difficult to have an abortion. Their answer was that women want safety and quality in their healthcare, and many would interpret that question as leading to more rigorous process. I’m not sure if their view is why that result was obtained, but it is plausible.

One salient question I would pose on this issue is whether such a procedure would actually lead to some women not having an abortion due to “better” information, who do currently have an abortion – or would it just be an extra hassle and cost for every woman seeking an abortion, and not actually change anything.

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