Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Abortion is on the agenda

It is shaping up to be a change election, and last night we had a perfect symbol of that, with Labour leader Jacinda Ardern promising a government bill to reform abortion law and take it out of the Crimes Act:

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says abortion should not be in the Crimes Act and she would change the law.


"It shouldn't be in the Crimes Act. People need to be able to make their own decision."

"People need to be able to make their own decisions," said Ardern.

"I want women who want access to be able to have it as a right."

Bill English, an elderly bigot who believes in an imaginary sky-fairy, naturally opposes this. He's perfectly happy with a Muldoon-era law which effectively requires women to declare themselves mentally ill in order to access a basic medical procedure. But then, he's also perfectly happy with its real aim: stigmatizing women and making them face the wagging finger of society. Anyone who isn't some sort of medieval sexist however can see that this law is a gross infringement of women's human rights, and its long past time it was changed.

But its also a sign of the changes in the Labour Party. Labour has had solid proposals for abortion reform before, but under the faceless Daves those proposals were buried for fear of appearing to be "politically correct" or upsetting people who were never going to vote for them anyway - at the cost of alienating their actual supporters. But now the Daves are gone, and we have a Labour leader who is unafraid to stand up for what's right and draw a clear contrast between Labour's values and those of the government. And that's great to see.

In 2017, I have no doubt that there's a majority in Parliament for this reform. And regardless of who wins or loses the election, now that Labour has rediscovered the courage of its convictions, we're going to see it happen. The only question is how long it takes.