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Organise Aotearoa supports nationwide rallies for abortion rights

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Organise Aotearoa will be joining rallies for abortion law reform, scheduled today in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. The National Day of Action is hosted by Fem Force - Feminist Action Aotearoa.

"Nobody should be pressured to continue an unwanted pregnancy," says Organise Aotearoa spokesperson Kate McIntyre. "But New Zealand is far behind many other countries when it comes to reproductive rights."

In 1977, the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act allowed for abortions to be signed off by two GPs in instances where incest or foetal impairment was involved, or if continuing the pregnancy would significantly endanger a pregnant person’s physical or mental health.

According to McIntyre, working class, low-income and rural people in particular struggle to access abortions.

In December 2018, Organise Aotearoa hosted the March for Reproductive Rights on parliament, drawing about 500 people. Abortion rights were a key demand there, but the group also drew attention to other ways in which reproductive rights are undermined.

"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 hapÅ«. It’s about making sure everyone has a livable income so that we never face economic pressure to end a wanted pregnancy. So reproductive justice is linked to anti-poverty and living wage campaigns, among other intersecting issues."

Organise Aotearoa expresses 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.

"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."

Rallies are to be held 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.

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