Labour Needs To Tell Disability Groups & Voters Their Specific Abortion Policy

Media Release 8 Sep 2017
Family First NZ is calling on the Labour party to disclose to voters and concerned disability groups like Saving Downs the exact details of what they’re proposing around the liberalisation of abortion.

“Labour have been quick to reject justified concerns of groups like Saving Downs, but have completely failed to explain exactly what they intend. Voters deserve to know the specific details. As Family First has already warned, any changes would potentially pave the way for late term abortions, aborting children on the basis of their gender, aborting those with disabilities e.g. Down’s syndrome, and possibly even partial-birth abortions,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“In the absence of specific policy, voters are completely justified to look to other countries that have made similar changes and the consequences of those changes. And as disability groups have said, in jurisdictions that have decriminalised abortion – China, Vietnam, Canada and two states in Australia – gestational time limits for disability-selective abortions have been removed and abortion for babies with disabilities are available right up to birth. The report on Iceland and their near 100% abortion rate from Down’s syndrome has led to controversy globally regarding equality and non-discrimination for persons with disabilities.”

“The main group who have been lobbying for the introduction of the policy, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand are explicitly calling for abortion on demand up to birth on their website, and have even proposed a version of a bill to do this in New Zealand.”

“Our concern is that taking away the current safeguards will simply place more pressure on women to access an abortion without the necessary safeguards for such a life-changing event. Coercion to have an abortion is a big issue for some women,” says Mr McCoskrie.

“Voters and disability groups are completely justified in calling out Labour on this issue so close to an Election and, in the absence of specific policy, to base their interpretation of Jacinda Ardern’s policy on overseas experience of similar law changes.”

“The real question is – if we have the wrong answer, why won’t Labour give the right answer?”

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