The Leading Edge 8 June 2014
Last Friday the Greens announced that they will be making the introduction of an extreme abortion in New Zealand one of their key policy planks for the upcoming general election.
Since that time there seems to have been a bit of confusion from some quarters about the fact that the Greens policy will expand the practice of aborting persons with disabilities right up to birth.
This confusion has been made worse by the fact that the wording of the Greens’ policy document on this matter is deceptive in what it claims, in that it neglects to alert readers of the actual current NZ law regarding abortion on the grounds of disability.
So, here are the facts:
Under current New Zealand abortion law, as found in the Crimes Act (Section 187A), it is illegal to abort a person with disabilities AFTER 20 weeks gestation.
Here’s the exact wording of the Crimes Act, with emphasis added (sections 183 and 186 deal with the procurement of abortion):
(1) For the purposes of sections 183 and 186, any act specified in either of those sections is done unlawfully unless, in the case of a pregnancy of not more than 20 weeks’ gestation, the person doing the act believes—
(a) that the continuance of the pregnancy would result in serious danger (not being danger normally attendant upon childbirth) to the life, or to the physical or mental health, of the woman or girl; or
(aa) that there is a substantial risk that the child, if born, would be so physically or mentally abnormal as to be seriously handicapped; or…
So, as you can see, the current NZ abortion law clearly states that abortion on the grounds of disability is illegal AFTER 20 weeks gestation.
But the Greens want to expand this, and they explicitly state, in their new policy, that aborting persons with disability after 20 weeks will become legal under their new extreme abortion law.