12 Oct 2008

Group calls for rethink of abortion laws

9:09 am on 12 October 2008

A campaign group is welcoming an Australian state's decision to decriminalise abortion and says politicians should now rethink New Zealand's abortion laws.

Victoria's parliament passed the Abortion Law Reform Bill last week, removing abortion from the Crimes Act and making terminations legal up to 24 weeks.

The Abortion Law Reform Association says the decision should prompt politicians to rethink New Zealand's abortion laws.

The assocation's president, Dr Margaret Sparrow, says New Zealand's abortion laws are unfair to women, costly to the taxpayer and have not kept up with medical advances.

She says she'd like New Zealand to follow Victoria's lead and remove abortion from the Crimes Act.

"It just isn't a crime. It should be regarded as a health matter; I don't think it should be in the Crimes Act at all."

But Ken Orr, a spokesperson for the campaign group Right to Life, says Victoria's move poses a threat to New Zealand and all other states in Australia.

"We see this bill as a violation of the human rights of women and the unborn child.

"The first duty of the state, we believe, is to protect the life of all citizens from conception to natural death."