Abortion – Down’s syndrome advocacy group condemn pledge to decriminalise

downs

A Down’s syndrome advocacy group has condemned Jacinda Ardern’s pledge to decriminalise abortion, saying it will allow abortion for disability till up to 40 weeks.

Ardern has responded by saying abortions up to 40 weeks would not be made legal under Labour.

Despite this, Saving Downs created a social media post using Labour’s campaign slogan (Let’s do this), Labour’s logo, and Labour’s leader.

The graphic says: “Abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities”, followed by the slogan “Let’s do this”.

A Labour Party spokesman said the party had contacted Saving Downs head Mike Sullivan, asking him to remove the post that contained the false claim alongside Labour branding.

The party had contacted Facebook and Twitter asking them to remove the posts.

Under the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act there is currently a gestational time limit of 20-weeks for abortion for disability.

But Saving Down’s said that in the handful of jurisdictions that have decriminalised abortion – China, Vietnam, Canada and two states in Australia – gestational time limits for disability-selective abortions have been removed. Abortion for babies with disabilities is available right up to birth.

Saving Down’s say Ardern’s proposed change to the law could also see New Zealand fall foul of international disability rights obligations.

This is because the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has consistently criticised countries that provide for abortion in a way which discriminates on the basis of disability.

“That is not what I’ve said. What I’ve said is currently abortion is in the Crimes Act. It shouldn’t be in the Crimes Act,” Ardern said on Wednesday.

“Yes we need to have regulation and proper practice and standards around this area of our health law but it should not be contained in the Crimes Act.

“There will be some elements that some members of parliament have no issue with, including it being removed from the Crimes Act, there may be other elements that they do,” she said.

“We’ll make sure we draft a bill that enables members to vote on the bits that they do take no issue with versus the ones that they don’t but I do need to do that work in office.”

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News category: New Zealand.

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