Media Release 14 October 2018
Family First NZ says that information received from the Law Commission under the Official Information Act reveals that the Law Commission received almost 3,500 submissions regarding the abortion law review, and of those submissions, just 18% – less than one in five – supported removing abortion from the Crimes Act.
A large majority (69%) opposed, with 49% specifically supporting retaining the Crimes Act status for abortion, and a further 20% argued for the legal protection of the unborn child. The remaining 13% did not specifically deal with the decriminalisation issue.
“These results confirm that the Labour government has no mandate at all to liberalise the abortions laws. This is also a very strong response given that submitters were only given six weeks to prepare their submissions. The Law Commission should be resisting pressure from the government to railroad this issue. A Law Commission member said in a recent media interview that the reviews that the Law Commission do best are where they consider them at length. Yet the consideration of abortion laws was referred by the Minister at the end of February and is due back in just eight months,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“It seems fairly obvious that the Law Commission is being used as a smoke-screen for an agenda being rushed through by a government. The Law Commission deserves more respect.”
“The submissions to the Law Commission reflect the independent polling of New Zealanders released this year which found significant support for greater time limits on abortion, including from those who generally support abortion. There was surprisingly small support for the current Crimes Act time limit of 20 weeks, and overwhelming rejection of any extension to the limit as lobbied for by pro-abortion group ALRANZ. There was also strong support for legal safeguards.”
Other safeguards in the current law are supported by the public. 86% support the current legal requirements of providers and premises having to be licensed. 90% oppose sex selective abortions. 76% support doctors being required to verify a woman seeking an abortion is not under any coercion from a 3rd party. And a 2011 poll found that the majority of New Zealanders (64%) believe that women considering an abortion have the right to be fully informed of the medical risks of abortion – and the alternatives.
A 2016 survey asked respondents whether they agreed with the following statement: “Women who have abortions risk harming their mental health as a result of the abortion.” Overall, 46% agreed with the statement, 21% were unsure or didn’t say, and only 33% disagreed. Significantly, strongest agreement with the statement came from the younger 18-40 age bracket (50%).
“Contrary to misrepresentation by pro-abortion groups, New Zealanders are either satisfied with the current regulation of abortion or want it made more restrictive. Women are not made criminals by the current legislative guidelines and protections. To claim otherwise is simply false scaremongering aimed at deceiving people into supporting the introduction of an extreme abortion law in New Zealand. The existing safeguards are there to protect women from unlicensed premises and coercion.”
Family First NZ is also questioning why the government is pushing the Law Commission to consider abortion laws over far weightier issues of property relationships, trust law reforms and the use of DNA in criminal investigations.
1677 “opposed change to the current criminal offences and/or opposing decriminalisation”
671 “expressed support for the law protecting the life of the fetus”
603 “supported the treatment of abortion as a health issue and/or removing abortion from the Crimes Act”
3,419 total submissions
Official Information Act response to Right to Life by Law Commission – October 2018