Simon Bridges: Abortion should be rare, safe and legal

NewsHub 28 May 2018
Leader of the National Party Simon Bridges believes there’s no case for change when it comes to abortion law in New Zealand.

Mr Bridges told RNZ New Zealand’s abortion law is working well.

“I think what it is is a situation where we want abortions to be rare, safe and legal. I’d put the emphasis, personally, on rare.

“I don’t see the case for change.”

Mr Bridges’ use of the phrase “rare, safe and legal” is an echo of a Republican Party line.

Bill Clinton used the phrase “safe, legal and rare” to describe his policy on abortion in 1996. It was used again by Hillary Clinton on the 2008 campaign trail. She added -“by rare, I mean rare.

The discussion of abortion law reform comes as Ireland made history this week, legalising abortion in a landslide referendum.

Pro-choice advocates in New Zealand say Ireland’s abortion law will now leapfrog New Zealand’s. Here, abortion is in the Crimes Act and most are granted on the grounds continuing the pregnancy would pose a risk to the physical or mental health of the mother.

‘I’d be loath to’ – National’s Simon Bridges says abortion should stay in the Crimes Act
TVNZ One News 28 May 2018
National Party Leader Simon Bridges has clarified his stance on taking abortion out of the Crimes Act in New Zealand, saying he “would be loath to”.

The conversation was sparked after Ireland last week voted in a referendum to allow their parliament to legislate on the legality of abortion – a subject which has been controversial in the largely-catholic country for decades, sparking six referendums.

In New Zealand, abortion is legal only if the pregnant woman faces a risk to her life, physical or mental health – meaning many women receive abortions under false pretences.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised to reform current abortion law in New Zealand within this parliamentary term, saying “people should be able to exercise their own rights and I as a parliamentarian shouldn’t stand in the way of that”.

She has also insisted there’ll be no changes to the time-frame in which women can have an abortion – which is up to 19 weeks.

Mr Bridges, who is religious, this morning told TVNZ 1’s Breakfast programme he would “be loath to” remove abortion from New Zealand’s Crimes Act, saying the law as it stands today is working.

‘The regime we have for abortion is working well’ – Bridges
Radio NZ News 28 May 2018
The abortion system in New Zealand working well and there isn’t a case for change, says National Party leader Simon Bridges.

Mr Bridges told Morning Report he made his position clear but it would be a conscience vote for MPs.

“Abortion should be rare, safe and legal, I think we do see that in New Zealand.”

Personally, he said, he puts the emphasis on ‘rare’.

Over the weekend, Ireland overwhelmingly voted in favour of overturning its ban on abortions.

In New Zealand, abortions have to be approved by two certifying consultants and only on certain prescribed grounds.

“If you look at Ireland, they had a situation where it was probably the most restrictive regime in the western world, that’s not where we’re at.”

He thinks the overall system is working well.

“I don’t see the case for change.”
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