Abortion Legislation Bill passes 68 to 51

The third reading passed Wednesday night 68 votes to 51. The breakdown by party was:

  • National 19 – 36 (35% in favour)
  • Labour 37 – 9 (80%)
  • NZ First 2 – 6 (25%)
  • Greens 8 – 0 (100%)
  • ACT 1 – 0 (100%)
  • Independent 1 – 0 (100%)

The MP who didn’t vote was National’s Stuart Smith.

So National MPs around 1/3 in favour, Labour MPs 1/5 against and NZ First 1/3 in favour.

Here’s the vote by different demographics:

  • Electorate MPs: 38 – 32 (54% in favour)
  • List MPs: 30 – 19 (61%)
  • Female MPs: 34 – 15 (69%)
  • Male MPs: 34 – 36 (49%)
  • Asian MPs: 4 – 4 (50%)
  • European MPs: 46 – 30 (61%)
  • Maori MPs: 14 – 13 (52%)
  • Pasifika MPs: 4 – 4 (50%)
  • Under 40 MPs: 15 – 6 (71%)
  • 40s MPs: 24 – 16 (60%)
  • 50s MPs: 22 – 20 (52%)
  • 60+ MPs: 7 – 9 (44%)

The final speaker in the debate was Amy Adams. Some extracts:

I have sat with and held the hand, over my life, of women that I know and love who have had to make an incredibly difficult decision to have an abortion. I have seen them face the delays, the difficulties, the struggles, the judgment, and the abuse, frankly, and feel marginalised and criminalised because of our law, and that is not OK. I am very proud that in my last few months in this House, I get to be a part of—hopefully—putting that right for women today. …

If religious leaders in our community want to do something about unwanted pregnancies, then perhaps they could stop teaching that contraception is a sin. That would go a long way towards advancing the views and the rights of women.

Not all religions, but a very valid point.

I think those who are voting against this legislation—their views are their own, but I think they are out of step with New Zealand. I think this House is in grave danger of becoming far more socially conservative than New Zealand, and we do a disservice to New Zealand when we get out of step with the views of New Zealand. Like many of you—and I’ve heard others say it—on conscience issues, I take a lot of time talking to my community in my constituency. I represent a constituency that wouldn’t be regarded as urban liberal by any stretch of the imagination, and I can tell you that the very strongly held majority view—not exclusively, absolutely. But the very strongly expressed and held majority view is why wouldn’t we pass this legislation? It seems a no-brainer to so many, and yet we run the risk of allowing a very vocal minority, largely, in my view, directed by the religious leaders across New Zealand—although I accept that may not be true for all. We run the risk of allowing them to derail important legislative reform.

I don’t think this law change will lead to one more abortion in New Zealand. In fact they have been declining for many years. What it will lead to is women no longer having to pretend they are mentally ill (or will suffer mental damage) in order to have an abortion.

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