Lizzy wants to legally kill her baby

In 2017, nothing has changed. Abortion is still a crime, women are still forced to pretend that the “continuance” of a pregnancy will result in “serious danger” to their mental health, and Parliament remains too gutless to confront the issue, with many parties saying abortion law reform is “not a priority” for them.


Why is the law surrounding agency over women’s bodies not a priority to our representatives? Why, when a number of women have now bravely spoken out about their stressful, time-consuming and frustrating experiences of seeking an abortion in New Zealand, are their stories still being ignored?

I suspect the real answer is that many of our politicians are scared of tackling such a controversial topic. They know just how strongly some people feel about it and, although a recent poll showed the majority of New Zealanders are in favour of abortion being legal, they are afraid of igniting a public debate that may diminish their support among a vocal minority of their constituents.

There is no win to debate if abortion is OK or not.  Ultimately you have to draw a line.  Is it at 8 weeks?  Twelve?  Thirty?   

Despite reluctance to broach the subject, a number of senior politicians are actually in favour of a woman’s right to make her own decision to seek an abortion. Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett recently told Villainesse that she is “pro-choice” and if a private member’s bill was drawn that proposed reforming abortion legislation, she “would want to ensure that women are better off”. Labour Leader Andrew Little told the website that he’s “a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose” and that “abortion should not be in the Crimes Act. It is not a crime.”

New Zealand First’s policy for abortion is “safe, rare and legal”, with one of its candidates recently describing the party as “pro-choice”, and the Green Party has a policy of removing abortion from the Crimes Act, which Co-Leader Metiria Turei recently said the whole caucus would vote to support. ACT Party Leader David Seymour also supports legislative reform.

The Prime Minister, a deeply conservative Catholic, is opposed to abortion reform. In 2007, he told Parliament he believes that abortion legislation was “framed by Parliament with the intention of protecting the unborn”. During the same speech, he grumbled about how difficult it had been when he was Health Minister to compel the Ministry of Health to publish a photograph of a foetus in a pamphlet intended for women considering abortions. He made the astonishing admission that he “went to the library and found a picture [himself]”.

More recently, he told TVNZ’s Q+A that he’d be “quite happy” if his vote set the tone for others. Which is entirely unsurprising, given politicians have long been setting the tone for Kiwi women, whether they like it or not.

That’s a little petulant.  These people have been voted into positions to do that job for us.  If they do the job you can’t really complain about it.

In Aotearoa we so desperately want to believe that we are world-leading when it comes to women’s rights, but our abortion laws are some of the most restrictive in the world. This should be an election issue, not because we’re lagging behind our global neighbours, but because women deserve better.

As Gloria Steinem famously said, “the power of the State stops at our skin”. Politicians need to take their laws and butt out of our uteruses.

In real terms, getting an abortion is dead easy in this country.  The whole system is one where everyone just ignores the law.   Sure, it would be better if the law was enforced the way it stands, or changed to the way it is needed, but this is a very delicate and personal part of life where on the one hand there exist people that insist the 15 year old must carry the baby to full term even though her uncle raped her, and others that think the 15 year old should be able to get an abortion paid for by the state without the consent and involvement of her mother and father.

No politician will go near it, and for good reason.

If Lizzy wants the legal right to kill unborn humans, she’s going to be disappointed if she expects politicians to take up that fight for her.  Including the women.


– Lizzy Marvelly, NZ Herald

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