Deciding on abortion law

Radio NZ News 6 October 2019
When a bill comes to Parliament there’s a process MPs follow to make decisions about the bill’s merit, it’s components, and whether or not it will do what it’s meant to.

Among the list of bills MPs are working on is abortion law reform and their decisions will be shaped in part by those who turn up to talk to them at select committee.

Family First has about 3700 financial members and says it promotes family values including protecting marriage in law as between one man and one woman, and automatic parental notification of teenage pregnancy or abortion.

ACT Party leader David Seymour said the submission wasn’t clear about what Family First wants and he asked its Director Bob McCoskrie to clarify.

“You say ‘one of our key points is a law that limits the timeframe for having an abortion’, well this bill liberalises it,” said McCoskrie.

“So that is a key component, we would like to see it further restricted. We believe the surveys show that people want it restricted. When people realise that its up to 20 weeks they actually don’t agree with that.”

“So when you say you want a limit on the time frame what you really meant is you want a shorter limit than what it is now? How short should it be?…are you at ten weeks?” asked Seymour.

“We would support a heartbeat type concept,” answered McCoskrie. “Once the heartbeat is detected, I mean if you were to collapse right now the first thing we’d check for is a heartbeat.”

The Abortion Legislation Committee will continue to hear from submitters in person. All written submissions are published online as is the schedule of meetings.

Once the Committee has considered all the submissions it will write a report, potentially with some recommendations, which will be sent to the rest of the MPs in the House and become the topic of debate for the Bill’s second reading later this year.

Follow the bill’s progress through the House here.


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