Bereavement law ignores women with post-abortion grief

Politicians have voted for a new law allowing three days’ bereavement leave where pregnancies end because of miscarriage or stillbirth, but not for women suffering post-abortion grief.

Politicians have rejected calls for the leave to be extended to allow support for these women.

“We absolutely support this bill but requested that it be extended to cover post-abortive women, because all women matter, says a press release from Marina Young  of Family First NZ.

“The loss and grief experienced by parents as a result of miscarriage absolutely deserve recognition, however, the grief and loss of post-abortive women need to be validated too, because there can be many factors that surround one’s decision to have an abortion.

“Post abortive women need to know that it is okay to seek help and take time to grieve, and to allow their body to heal.

“Women are being persuaded to believe that an abortion is not a loss of life – but that is certainly not the experience of many post-abortive women, and their loss should not be ignored,” says Young.

Young is the founder of the Buttons Project and spokesperson for Family First NZ.

When lodging the original bill, Labour MP Ginny Anderson said she thought post-abortion grief would be grounds for the bereavement leave.

“Bereavement leave for both miscarriages – often referred to by medical specialists as ‘spontaneous abortion’ – and abortions would allow women the opportunity to seek the support and counselling that they may need at this time.

“We should never under-estimate the grief and loss that a woman personally experiences from either a miscarriage or an abortion,” Young says.

“I ask that we walk gently in people’s lives, as we do not know the journey that they have been on to lead them to where they are at this moment, and allow post-abortive women’s grief and loss to be acknowledged.”

A research paper for health professionals which reviews international evidence up to 2020 about the relationship between abortion and women’s physical and mental health has found abortion is associated with a wide range of adverse physical and psychological outcomes.

The paper concluded it is essential for women to be made fully aware of all the risks they might face. The report has been sent to all DHBs.


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