Re­mem­ber the prom­ise?

The Northland Age - - Opinion - Bob McCoskrie

Prime Min­is­ter Jacinda Ardern will have to re­ject all three op­tions put for­ward by the Law Com­mis­sion on abor­tion laws if she is to keep her pre-elec­tion prom­ise.

At the New­stalk ZB Lead­ers’ Break­fast, just be­fore the elec­tion, Jacinda Ardern said:

“Yes, I think abor­tion should come out of the Crimes Act. That does not mean for a mo­ment that I am propos­ing what has been claimed, that you should be able to have on-de­mand abor­tion to birth.

No, that is ab­so­lutely not what I am say­ing. We of course must reg­u­late . . .

“We have time pe­ri­ods al­ready set out in the law, and I am not propos­ing changes to that. I am propos­ing it comes out of the Crimes Act.”

To keep to her elec­tion prom­ise, Ms Ardern will im­me­di­ately have to re­ject Model A, which al­lows abor­tion on-de­mand up to birth, be­ing lob­bied for by rad­i­cal abor­tion pres­sure group ALRANZ and Fam­ily Plan­ning. But she’ll also have to re­ject Model C, which al­lows abor­tion on-de­mand to 22 weeks, and only loosely re­stricted past that point, and Model B, which al­lows abor­tion with only loose re­stric­tions up to birth.

Each one of these mod­els tosses out the cur­rent law’s limit in the Crimes Act on abor­tions past 20 weeks, with Model A do­ing ex­actly what Ms Ardern said she wouldn’t do — al­low­ing on­de­mand abor­tion to birth.

In the in­de­pen­dent polling of 1013 New Zealan­ders by Cu­ria Mar­ket Re­search, re­leased in Jan­uary this year, just 9 per cent sup­ported the cur­rent le­gal limit for an abor­tion of 20 weeks. Only 4 per cent be­lieved it should be later than 20 weeks, in­clud­ing up to birth. Fifty per cent thought the time limit should be shorter than the cur­rent 20 weeks, and a fur­ther 36 per cent were un­sure.

Of those who did pick a time limit, 15 weeks was the me­dian choice.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, 56 per cent of women think the time limit should be less than the cur­rent 20 weeks. And in­cred­i­bly, 53 per cent of those who gen­er­ally sup­port abor­tion think the time limit should be less than the cur­rent 20 weeks — 29 per cent of abor­tion sup­port­ers say 10 weeks or less.

If abor­tions are al­lowed on de­mand af­ter 20 weeks, Jacinda Ardern will have bro­ken her prom­ise.

Any changes would po­ten­tially pave the way for late-term abor­tions, abort­ing chil­dren on the ba­sis of their gen­der, abort­ing those with dis­abil­i­ties, e.g. Down syn­drome, and pos­si­bly even par­tial-birth abor­tions.

The con­cerns of groups like Sav­ing Downs and groups op­pos­ing sexs­e­lec­tion abor­tions will be proved jus­ti­fied, but that is the ef­fect of re­mov­ing abor­tion from the Crimes Act.

"Any changes would po­ten­tially pave the way for late-term abor­tions, abort­ing chil­dren on the ba­sis of their gen­der, abort­ing those with dis­abil­i­ties, e.g. Down syn­drome, and pos­si­bly even par­tial-birth abor­tions."

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