Wellington, Aug 5: New Zealand has announced a bill to decriminalise abortion for all women that will give them access to the termination until 20 weeks' pregnancy without having to go through legal hoops. New Zealand Herald reported that Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced the details of a long-awaited bill aimed at decriminalising abortion - the first major reform in more than four decades. Other changes include allowing authorities to set up 'safe zones' around clinics to keep protesters away and letting women self-refer to providers if their doctors object.
Abortion is currently a crime in New Zealand, but exemptions mean women can still get access if two doctors agree a pregnancy would put them in physical or mental risk - a process that's been criticised as both slow and stigmatising. Under the new law, the decision will be up to the woman, in consultation with her doctor, until 20 weeks' pregnant. After that, the person performing the procedure will have to "reasonably believe the abortion is appropriate with regard to the pregnant woman's physical and mental health, and well being".
"Safe abortion should be treated and regulated as a health issue; a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body," said Justice Minister Little said, adding the bill would also no longer be a crime if women induced their own miscarriages. (UNI)