WelCom August 2019:
Government plans to liberalise abortion laws are weeks away, not months, according to Justice Minister Andrew Little Andrew Little.
Abortion is currently included in the Crimes Act, making it officially illegal.
A bill that would remove abortion from the Crimes Act went before Cabinet ministers on Tuesday, 23 July 2019, for final approval. The full Cabinet is expected to approve it in the near future before it is debated in the House.
Last year Andrew Little asked the Law Commission to look at ways of taking abortion out of the Crimes Act.
The commission’s report in October had three options: Models A, B, and C. All would take abortion out of the Crimes Act, but some to a greater or lesser extent.
The Government has been holding the Law Commission’s proposals for reform since October, as Labour and NZ First have negotiated what the reform bill will look like.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday 23 July that the Government had stuck within the options recommended to it by the Law Commission but did not specify which option it had backed. Ms Ardern said she supported decriminalisation. National leader Simon Bridges would not say whether he would back the bill.
While parties will treat the issue as a conscience vote, the bill will be introduced as a Government Bill, meaning there needs to be some agreement around the Cabinet table as to what it entails.