New Zealand’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly last month to advance a bill that would decriminalize abortion and loosen restrictions on the procedure. Under current law, women can only obtain an abortion in New Zealand if they receive approval from two doctors, and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to change that while campaigning in 2017. The bill must pass two more rounds of voting before it can become law.
According to Yanshu Huang, a research fellow at the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute, Ardern’s push for reform also reflects a broader change in public opinion among New Zealanders, toward more pro-choice views. In an email interview with WPR, she discusses the roots of abortion’s anachronistic classification as a crime in New Zealand and the reasons it took so long for abortion law reform to gain traction.
World Politics Review: Why was abortion originally classified as a crime in New Zealand?