On 27 February 2018 the Minister of Justice wrote to the Law Commission noting the Government was considering how best to ensure New Zealand’s abortion laws are consistent with treating abortion as a health issue.
The Minister asked the Commission, as a matter of priority, to provide advice on what alternative approaches could be taken in our legal framework to align with a health approach.
The Minister stated that he expected the Commission’s advice to include reviewing the criminal aspects of abortion law, the statutory grounds for abortion and the process for receiving services. These are contained in the Crimes Act 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977.
The Commission was asked to provide its advice in the form of a ministerial briefing paper within eight months of the Minister’s request. The Minister also asked the Commission to seek input from appropriate health professionals and provide an opportunity to receive the public’s views.
Public submissions were sought between 4 April and 18 May 2018. The Commission received 3,419 submissions.
The Commission’s advice was provided to the Minister on 26 October 2018.