Why It's Okay To Have An Abortion, Simply Because You Don't Want a Child

17264596_10155868103738572_3702402326196357642_n.jpg

This is a topic I have thought about discussing for a long time. It’s not a new line of conversation but it’s time. It’s time to talk New Zealand, it’s time for change.

Sign the petition to legalise abortion in New Zealand here.

The Facts:

Let’s start here. Before I delve into why I think it’s okay to have an abortion, it’s important to acknowledge that many New Zealanders are unaware of the fact that abortion is illegal in Aotearoa, let alone that it sits under section 187A of the Crimes Act 1961.

Currently, New Zealand law allows for abortions to be performed for the following reasons, providing the abortion is approved by two certifying consultants and the pregnancy is less than 20 weeks old:

  • to save the life of the woman

  • to preserve the physical health of the woman

  • to preserve the mental health of the woman

  • foetal impairment

  • in cases of incest

Why I have a problem with the current law and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 pertaining abortion in New Zealand.

Although there are a plethora of reasons I could divulge, including the fact that the law is so outdated, the youngest people who voted in the election before the abortion vote in NZ (1975 election, 1977 vote) would be 61 today, I’ll keep it tight. Here are two key points that come to the forefront of my argument. Both of them, in my opinion, have solid grounds based on the fact that given New Zealand is a democratic society, one of which proudly notes the freedom of body and speech.

  1. It is a woman’s choice
    
To not give women this choice, is to disempower women. Under current law, a woman does not have full bodily autonomy, something that contravenes the very idea of our democratic nation. Women should have the right to choose what happens to their own body. It’s as simple as having the right to make the decision on whether to bring a child into this world. It most certainly should not be subject to a Parliamentarian’s vote. Preventing a woman from making a life-changing choice over her body simply disregards the Human Rights Act and, as stated by ALRANZ, is not in accordance with international treaties to which New Zealand is a signatory especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. This is a decision and something that should be treated as a health issue and not as a crime.

  2. A woman, who is not mentally ill, should not have to lie to jump through a legal loophole
    Despite the misconception that many people think abortion is available on request, the essence of obtaining an abortion in New Zealand today is based on dishonesty. Many who read this will not understand why this is such an issue. I once spoke to someone who said to me, it’s not ideal it’s in the Crimes Act but if you can find a way around it, then what’s the problem. The problem is that a woman should not have to lie or even so, admit, that she is mentally unwell, unstable, insane - or that she will be, should she have this unwanted child. It is detrimental to the sanity of a woman to lie to receive a medical treatment when she is mentally well. There is no need to have specified grounds for abortion and a woman should certainly not have to lie to get around the Crimes Act.

Although this is my opinion, and that is truly what it is, an opinion - I truly accept that others oppose my thoughts. That’s fine - it’s your opinion, but this is mine, this is my argument. You will never change that, and I will probably never change yours. For those conflicted, unsure, or on the same page - I’ll end with this.

Dear woman, no matter who you are, what your situation is, or what people may tell you - it’s okay to have an abortion. It’s okay to have one because you simply don’t want to bring an unwanted child into this world. It really is okay and no one should take that away from you. At the end of the day, when everyone around you goes home, and your sitting on your own, reeling in the decision you have made, I hope you feel empowered. I hope you feel proud. Because it’s not an easy decision, it’s a hard decision. But when you make that decision, it should be a legal one.

T

The team at ALRANZ advocate for the legalisation of abortions within New Zealand. If you want to find out more, you can visit here.

Tessa Stockdale