Several New Zealand MPs have voiced serious concerns over proposed legislation to liberalise the country’s abortion laws.
As well as seeking to remove criminal sanctions for abortion, the Bill also ends the requirement for two doctors to agree to the abortion, allowing mothers to self-refer up to 20 weeks.
But one pro-abortion activist said the legislation was merely a “good start”.
‘Distinct human life’
MPs who challenged the legislation emphasised the importance of human life.
Agnes Loheni said the unborn child is “not a cancer we are cutting out of our bodies”, “it is a distinct human life with its own DNA, heartbeat, and brain function”.
Simon O’Connor agreed, warning: “the best chapters in our history have been when we have recognised the innate dignity of others, but our worst have been when people with rights have decided that others should not have them”.
Other politicians highlighted the lack of safeguards to protect mothers who may be coerced into abortion.
However, the Abortion Legislation Bill passed its first reading in Parliament by 94 to 23 votes.
A Select Committee will now consider amendments and public responses.
In Great Britain, since the 1967 Abortion Act, more than nine million abortions have taken place.
Abortions generally can take place up to 24 weeks, while children believed to be disabled can be aborted up to birth.
Last month, Westminster politicians chose to impose abortion on Northern Ireland, in a move that was supported by abortion giant BPAS.
An estimated 100,000 lives have been spared under Northern Ireland’s pro-life laws.