After 40 years of campaigning for pro-choice lawmakers and advocates, New Zealand’s Parliament finally passed a bill decriminalizing abortion and allowing women to choose a termination up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy.
“It’s been a really long time coming. Today I hope we will come out of the sexual and reproductive time warp that we’ve been stuck in for over 40 years,” says Jan Logie, a member of New Zealand’s Green Party.
Before this bill, two doctors were required to approve an abortion under the Crimes Act. And an abortion was typically only okay’d if there was a “serious danger” to the pregnant woman’s health.
According to Common Dreams, a woman who obtained an abortion could legally face up to 14 years in prison.
“From now abortions will be rightly treated as a health issue. The previous law required a woman seeking an abortion to go through many hoops. The changes agreed to by parliament will better ensure women get advice and treatment in a more timely way,” says Justice Minister Andrew Little.