Last week, Prime Minister Bill English told New Zealand that our abortion law, which effectively requires women to declare themselves mentally ill to access a basic medical procedure, didn't need to be changed because it had "stood the test of time". Today, the Abortion Supervisory Committee, which oversees and administers that law, called bullshit on that:
Current wording in New Zealand's abortion law is offensive and not updating it is an "indictment", a Government-appointed committee has told MPs.
The strong criticism of aspects of abortion law comes amidst increasing political debate about the issue, with Labour, the Green Party and Act Party all calling for change.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) made its annual appearance at Parliament's justice and electoral committee today, when it reports on how abortion law has been managed.
While calling for the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, passed in 1977, to be updated, the ASC made clear the larger issue of more significant changes was a question for the public and Parliament.
However, the outdated wording in the current legislation was creating problems for health officials and allowing anti-abortion groups to launch legal challenges.
Basicly, the law is a 40-year old sexist mess in desperate need of updating. That hasn't happened because of the cowardice of politicians - they simply don't want to deal with the backlash from New Zealand's tiny fundamentalist community. Instead, they sacrifice the fundamental right of women to control their own body so they can have a little peace of mind.
That's simply not acceptable. This law needs to change. And politicians who don't want to do that, or don't want to think about it or risk upsetting the fundies? We should vote them out and get better ones.