New Zealand authorities have decided to legalize abortion - this is the only medical procedure in the country that is still considered a crime. Thanks to the new law, which Justice Secretary Andrew Little told about the draft, termination of pregnancy will be classified as a health issue, rather than an offense that is considered permissible only in certain circumstances. “A woman has the right to choose what to do with her body,” he commented.
According to The Guardian, now permission for a legal abortion in New Zealand can be obtained only in case of incest, a serious threat to the health or development of the fetus, as well as a threat to the physical or mental health of the mother. In addition, abortion may be considered in cases of rape or teenage or "too late" pregnancies - but in these cases, two doctors must be approved.
It follows from the new bill that women whose pregnancy is less than twenty weeks will be able to apply for the service directly to the clinic where the procedure is performed, bypassing other specialists. For a period of more than twenty weeks, a doctor's opinion will be required, who, among other things, will decide whether the termination of pregnancy is safe "from the point of view of the physical and mental health of the pregnant woman."
The Guardian writes that New Zealanders have been waiting for the new law for "decades." Human rights activist Terry Bellamak noted that this is "a huge step forward", but some details of the bill remain unclear - for example, why the 20-week limit was introduced.
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