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New Zealand’s abortion law does need reform but the Government’s Bill needs greater protections for the unborn child during the later stages of pregnancy, says Nelson MP Nick Smith.

“I support reform because New Zealand’s current practice around abortion is out of step with the law. A woman should not have to prove that her physical or mental health is in serious danger to access an abortion for pregnancies under 20 weeks.”

“However I take a different view when the unborn child is sufficiently developed to live independently of the mother. The Government’s Bill enables any doctor or nurse to provide an abortion up to the full term of pregnancy “if the health practitioner reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate in the circumstances”. This is way too broad. The only considerations for the doctor or nurse to take into account is the woman’s physical health, mental health and wellbeing without any regard for the unborn child.”

“I do not accept the Ministers view that there are so few late term abortions that this issue is unimportant. The current law is very restrictive for late abortions and that is why they are rare. I want a law that ensures late term abortions remain rare and in extreme circumstances.”

“I cannot support this bill in its current form. My hope is that the Minister or Select Committee will increase the protections for the unborn child in the later stages of pregnancy. I would like to support abortion reform but this Bill goes too far.”

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