Abortion lobby group complains to Human Rights Commission

Human Rights Commission

Six women who have sought abortion care and lobby group The Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRANZ), have taken a complaint to the Human Rights Commission alleging abortion laws discriminate against pregnant people.

“ALRANZ is joined by five individual complainants whose experiences illustrate how New Zealand’s current abortion laws discriminate against women and pregnant people, resulting in hurt feelings, loss of dignity and cruel, degrading and disproportionately severe treatment,” said ALRANZ national president Terry Bellamak.

A Human Rights Commission spokesperson says it cannot comment on the case.

“It is not possible for us to speculate on the timing of a case that is currently before a judicial body but the indications are that it could be quite a while before the matter is heard by the Tribunal.”

However, the spokesperson pointed out that the United Nations has repeatedly called for states to remove abortion from their criminal laws, remove regulatory and administrative barriers that impede women’s access to safe abortion services, and provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services to women.

“Going before the Tribunal could mean each of the six women may have to give evidence,” Bellamak says.

“It will be a couple of years before the case is heard at this point, so we’ve got a bit of time to see how law reform works in practice and whether it addresses the fundamental breaches of which we complain.”

Reforming conscientious objection is problematic, she says. “That’s going to be tough because it’s hard for a government to force doctors to make referrals for abortion care.”


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