Abortion Liberalisation Debate Must Not Be Rushed

Welcoming the news that there has been a strong response to the Abortion Legislation Bill with more than 23,000 written submissions in the extremely short timeframe of six weeks.

No other issue quite cuts to the heart of our humanity and life than the issue of abortion – and that is why there has been a strong reaction. This is a significant piece of legislation. The number of submissions – and the length and substance of the Law Commission report – confirms just how difficult this issue is.

If anything, it should emphasise that significant consideration and extreme caution should be given – because if we get this wrong, there are deadly consequences.

For that reason, the Select Committee should take time to fully consider the ramifications of liberalising the law, and should travel the country and hear as many oral submissions as reasonably possible. If that means requesting further time to present the report back to Parliament, so be it.

The report is due back on 8 February 2020.

To fully analyse the views and concerns of 23,000+ submissions from individuals, groups, organisations, health and legal professionals, researchers and families, the select committee risks rushing the process purely for political convenience and ignoring the important human rights ramifications.

All New Zealanders should be respected and listened to on this issue. The Select Committee must take the full time necessary to allow the public to express their view on this highly controversial and significant bill.

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