MPs vote to remove abortion clinic safe zones from Bill
Radio NZ News 11 March 2020
Family First Comment: “In a confused vote in Parliament, MPs have done away with all sections of the Abortion Legislation Bill that would have made legally protected ‘safe areas’ possible outside clinics.”
The bill had its second reading in Parliament last night, in which possible changes were debated and voted on ahead of the third and final reading.
ACT leader David Seymour’s proposal was voted for in two parts – the first, to have the definition of Safe Zones removed from the bill, was narrowly voted down 59 votes to 56.
However, MPs seemed unprepared for a second vote on the substance of his changes – doing away with all the provisions that would put safe zones in place.
Up for debate were 150-metre safe zones that could be established around abortion clinics on a case-by-case basis, to prohibit intimidating or interfering behaviour.
That second vote was on removing all the legal provisions for safe zones, including the ways in which the police could administer them so as to protect women from harassment as they sought abortions.
That vote, to delete sections 15 through 17 of the bill, was taken in a voice vote only, and it passed – rendering the definition of ‘safe area’ redundant in the law.
Deputy Speaker Anne Tolley passed it on a verbal vote.
READ MORE: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/411409/mps-vote-to-remove-abortion-clinic-safe-zones-from-bill
Andrew Little will not try to re-insert ‘safe zones’ into abortion bill after procedural snafu
Stuff co.nz 11 March 2020
Justice Minister Andrew Little will not try to re-introduce “safe zones” into his abortion legalisation bill after a procedural snafu saw them removed on Tuesday night.
The proposed safe zones would set up a regime where protest and harassment of those seeking abortions could be barred within 150 metres of clinics.
But some MPs are against the safe zones on free speech grounds, including several who support the wider abortion legalisation bill.
Abortion is generally treated as a “conscience issue” – meaning MPs can vote freely of their parties, which can make things much more chaotic.
On a late night sitting on Tuesday night those against the safe zones actually lost their first attempt to remove them, when an amendment deleting the definition of safe zones lost 59 votes to 56.
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/120177061/andrew-little-will-not-try-to-reinsert-safe-zones-into-abortion-bill-after-procedural-snafu