Jacinda Ardern will vote in favour of abortion law changes - 'I don’t believe it should be in the Crimes Act'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she will be voting in favour of the changes to abortion laws in New Zealand, but she doesn't know which way the vote will go among other MPs. 

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The Prime Minister talked to TVNZ1’s Breakfast about her decision, but says she doesn’t know what way the vote will go. Source: Breakfast

The Government's proposed plan for abortion law reform was released yesterday, after months of delays, in which the Government seeks to remove abortion from the Crimes Act. 

Justice Minister Andrew Little announced the proposed law would remove the statutory test for a person less than 20 weeks pregnant, allow a woman to self-refer to an abortion provider and create a body to look at buffer zones around some abortion providers.

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The Justice Minister talked about the proposed changes to the Crimes Act on abortion. Source: 1 NEWS

The bill will have its first reading this Thursday in Parliament, where MPs will vote as a conscience issue, rather than voting as a party. 

When asked what way she thinks it will go, Ms Ardern told TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning she thinks it will be a close vote.

"It makes it a bit harder to know if something will pass [when MPs vote individually]," she said.

"What I'm really encouraging, given it's just the first hurdle, that if this Bill passes this first stage then the public are able to have their say at select committee. So I'm really hoping that members of Parliament will give the Bill that opportunity for the public to have their say."

Ms Ardern said it was the farthest Government had got in the debate since the late 1970s.

"So it is an opportunity to just make sure that really the legislation we have is fit for purpose. I don’t believe abortion should be in the Crimes Act and that's one of the primary drivers of this legislation."

However, the issue has already sparked debate.

Earlier on Breakfast Auckland abortion practitioner Dr Alison Knowles and anti-abortion group Vice For Life spokesperson Kate Cormack discussed the Bill.

Ms Knowles called the Bill "a major step forward" and said it would offer women better healthcare, while Ms Cormack said it was "extremely disturbing" and would remove what minimal protections there are for the unborn child.

Watch their full interviews below.

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Auckland abortion practitioner Dr Alison Knowles and anti-abortion group Vice For Life spokesperson Kate Cormack discuss the Bill. Source: Breakfast