Abortion Law Reform: Not thinking about it is a privilege

In New Zealand, Labour list MP Steve Chadwick has prepared an abortion law reform bill, and she is gathering support for putting it into the ballot. Check The Hand Mirror for action you can take to support her.

Chadwick thinks that support is about 50:50 for the bill, but at No Right Turn, I/S says: “I don’t think so. Its more that most of them don’t want to touch the issue with a barge pole.” I think I/S is probably right. It’s an issue bound to bring all the (allegedly) christian right wingers out in screaming force, determined to control women, and to force their own morality on other adults, treating pregnant women as children who can’t be trusted to make their own moral decisions. And no politician wants to get mixed up in that.

The leaders of both major parties are staying as far away from the issue as they can. Prime Minister John “smile and wave” Key wasn’t available to comment, and Leader of the Opposition Phil Goff said, “he hadn’t given the matter much thought.”

HE hadn’t given the matter much thought.

You see, someone who doesn’t think HE will ever find HIMSELF unexpectedly pregnant has that luxury. HE can afford to put the question to the back of HIS mind, to regard it as a non-issue, as something HE doesn’t have to deal with. It’s an extraordinary privilege, to not have to think too much about the legality and availability of abortion. I think that in not giving the matter too much thought, Mr Goff has failed HIS female constituents.

As for John Key, it would be nice if the Prime Minister might be available to do a little thinking about this issue too. He can’t be absent forever on it. I would expect that coming from a party that claims to value freedom of association, thought and action, he will be in support of abortion law reform. Abortion is a conscience matter in the New Zealand parliament, that is, a vote that each individual MP casts, rather than a vote on party lines, and I’m hopeful that he will support Chadwick’s bill. I’m happy to wait to learn what his views are, rather than assuming he will necessarily go one way or the other. But I would very much like to know what those views are. Yesterday would have been good.


The Queen of Thorns is in impressive form on this issue too: Abortion reform: It’s about goddamn time.

Maia has a post up at The Hand Mirror: People who are lying about abortion, crossposted at her own place, Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty, pointing out that “in 1977 and 1978 Phil Goff was the spokesperson for Young Labour. Young Labour actively opposed the current abortion law…. He has thought about abortion. He knows where he stands.” She also has some very interesting things to say about the alleged “compromise” in the current law.


I’ve written extensively about abortion, including why I think abortion is morally permissible and follow-up posts More on abortion: the infanticide objection, More on abortion: the female foeticide issue, and More on abortion: what about disabilities? In any case, I think that the abortion decision is one that is properly reserved to the woman who is pregnant.


6 responses to “Abortion Law Reform: Not thinking about it is a privilege

  1. Thanks so much for the kudos! Since my Feminist Awakening (TM) as a teen I’ve been so damn fired up on our awful abortion laws, and generally been told by less-radical, less-feminist lefties, “oh it’s not a big issue, I don’t think you need to get so rarked up about it.” Being simultaneously enraged and smug is an odd feeling!

  2. Pingback: Pro-choice responses to Chadwick’s Abortion Bill « The Standard

  3. “…determined to control women, and to force their own morality on other adults, treating pregnant women as children who can’t be trusted to make their own moral decisions.”

    It seems necessary to point out to you that most of our laws–and all of the laws in the Crimes Act–are there to control people because we don’t trust them to make their own moral choices eg, the law against murder–do you have a similar problem with this law? If we followed your argument we would have no laws against anything and your neighbour would be free to choose to make her “own moral decision” and kill you.

  4. prosaic – I think there is a difference between a law that governs individual actions, and one that is targeted at a group of people.

    Also, it is law that prevents somebody from doing something to their own body, and requires them to live with the long term consequences. Imagine if there were a law that forebade men to cut their beards? Except it is far more personal and intrusive than that.

  5. Pingback: Check your privilege | LadyNews