New Zealand’s abortion laws should be changed to reflect the real reasons women decide to terminate unwanted pregnancies, Christchurch researchers say.
New research from the University of Otago, Christchurch, suggests abortion does not reduce the mental health risks of unwanted pregnancy.
I’m not surprised. If you have an unwanted pregnancy, it is highly stressful to either have an abortion or to have an unplanned child.
The best outcome is to reduce unwanted pregnancies.
Currently, abortion can only be performed legally in New Zealand if there is a risk to the mother’s physical or mental health or if the baby would have a serious disability.
About 98 per cent of abortions are performed on mental health grounds.
Lead researcher David Fergusson told The Press the review did not suggest abortion should be completely illegal but that the current laws should be changed to reflect the real reasons women sought abortions.
“These issues could be addressed if the wording of the current law was changed from ‘continuation of the pregnancy would pose a serious threat to the woman’s health’ to something along the lines that ‘continuation of the pregnancy would pose a serious threat to the woman’s physical, mental, educational, family or financial wellbeing’,” he said.
I agree. The current law does not reflect the practice, and in this case I think the law should be changed to reflect the reality.