Hundreds of pro-choice protestors are set to rally around New Zealand today in support of abortion law reform.
The Abortion Legislation Bill passed its first reading in August 2019.
One group, Organise Aotearoa, says it will be joining rallies held in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. It has expressed disappointment with several select committee recommendations, particularly the recommendation that medical practitioners should be allowed to withhold prescriptions for emergency contraception, even in cases of rape.
Kate McIntyre, Organise Aotearoa spokesperson says New Zealand is far behind many other countries when it comes to reproductive rights. She says working class, low-income and rural people in particular struggle to access abortions.
“This goes completely against what we should be trying to achieve. We deserve humane and dignified reproductive healthcare that trusts pregnant people to make these decisions for themselves," says Ms McIntyre.
She says nobody should be pressured to continue an unwanted pregnancy.
“For us, reproductive justice isn’t just about abortion access, but also full access to contraception, childcare, public services and healthcare, and empowering whānau and hapū. So reproductive justice is linked to anti-poverty and living wage campaigns, among other intersecting issues," says Ms McIntyre.
"It’s about making sure everyone has a livable income so that we never face economic pressure to end a wanted pregnancy."
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said of the Abortion Legislation Bill: "There will be people on both sides of the argument who won’t be 100 per cent happy with the final version of the bill but it is a huge improvement in what we’ve had in the past."
Rallies are being held today in Wellington at 12.30pm at Midland Park, in Auckland at 5.30pm at Aotea Square, in Christchurch at 12.30pm at the Kate Sheppard National Memorial, and in Dunedin at 12pm at Queens Gardens.