Labour leader Jacinda Ardern tackles ‘smear campaign’ on abortion stance

NZ Herald 11 September 2017
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says she’s the victim of a deliberate misinformation campaign about her stance on abortion.

The question of where she drew the line was raised during her interview on this morning’s Newstalk ZB leaders breakfast segment with Larry Williams.

Family First NZ’s Bob McCoskrie asked if Ardern would personally endorse Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand’s preferred new law, based on a Canadian model that would seek to legalise abortion on demand up till birth.

Ardern did not shy away from the question but used it to clear up what she said had been misleading information about her views.

“There has been a huge amount of misinformation and my image has been used inappropriately with that misinformation.

“Yes I think abortion should come out of the Crimes Act. That does not mean for a moment that I am proposing what has been claimed, that you should be able to have on demand abortion till birth.”

What Ardern said she wanted was to remove abortion from the Crimes Act and have it put within a regulated context that made sure it was safe.

She categorically denied supporting abortion till birth.

“They have said till 40 weeks, which is wrong, which is wrong. We have time periods already set out in law, I’m not proposing changes to that. I’m proposing it comes out of the Crimes Act.”

The controversy around her views on abortion was sparked following the Newshub leaders debate on September 4, where she said she would remove abortion from the Crimes Act if she was prime minister.

A number of pro-life and anti-abortion groups came out strongly criticising her views as one that would pave the way for late-term abortions.

Saving Downs last week launched a social media campaign, which wrongly stated Labour’s policy would be to allow for abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities.

The post has since been removed from social media, but another one has gone up asking Ardern to confirm Labour would not be removing the 20-week limit for abortions for babies with disabilities.

Meanwhile the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, last week, welcomed Ardern’s announcement as one that gave women more freedom of choice.

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