Monday, September 23, 2013

Come along to a picnic for choice!

Saturday 28 September 2013
2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Albert Park, by the band rotunda (The Quad at Auckland Uni as a rain venue if it's really horrible but at this stage, it's looking good! Yusssssss!)

Come along and celebrate how choice is it to be pro-choice (and mark the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion) at this weekend's Pro-Choice Picnic.

There'll be a stall with baked goods for sale, the Pro-Choice Highway stall making an appearance, and general fun times with quite a few awesome people.

People will be there to discuss the current (crappy) status of abortion in New Zealand law and how you can help us reform it.

Brought to you by Auckland Pro-Choice People, Pro-Choice Highway, ALRANZ and our friends and supporters.

BYO picnic blanket, food (or buy from the stall), and non-alcoholic drinks.

More info here on the Global Day of Action:

Feel free to share our Pro-Choice Picnic Facebook event around allllll your friends. Thanks!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

International Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion

On this day, I decided to write to the Labour Women's Caucus. I don't know why I chose them, except that Steve Chadwick had come up against them with her proposed bill so I thought it a good place to start. But to be honest, I don't think this is an issue of "The Left". I've spoken to many National Party supporters (and a couple of MPs) who've been pro-choice, so this goes out to them too.

Dear Sue and the Labour Women's Caucus,

I'm Nikki and I'm a (relatively) young mother who would like to see our rubbish abortion laws reformed.

I love my daughter (who is now 7) very much but I'd be lying if I said that our abortion laws didn't influence my decision to continue my unplanned pregnancy at 19.

I found out reasonably late, at 16 weeks, and the fact that our abortion law only allowed me an extremely limited time to make a decision, I made other plans. Out of the sheer luck of the birth lottery, I had supportive parents who have been able to help me along the way. We had a welfare system that allowed me to finish my study and get a job. But it's definitely limited my choices in life.

I also had a subsequent abortion. My midwife warned me about it but I thought "I wouldn't be so stupid again." It turns out stupidity has nothing to do with it.

Was it for mental health reasons like the form from the Certifying consultant said? Hell no.

It was because I didn't want to be a single mother to two children from two different dads. And stuck on the DPB for ever.

The good thing is that my experience lead to reading more about abortion laws in New Zealand and discovering the online feminist movement.

Fast forward to now: I've been involved in pro-choice activism for the past couple of years and feel more and more passionate about it as the days go by. This passion is fueled by my own experience, the stories I hear from individual women, and the crap that the small, but very vocal, anti-choice activists pull around the place.

Thankfully the worst one has vacated the country and moved to Texas. And while I feel extremely sad for the women that he'll harass with his "prayer sessions" outside clinics, I'm so grateful that his efforts are focused elsewhere.

Anyway, the reason I'm actually writing is that I've heard from quite a few MPs that they want to see a popular movement before they'll be prepared to put in anything reforming our restrictive abortion laws. That's all fine and lovely, but no one talks about abortion. You know why? The system we have makes you feel like crap. It makes you feel as though it's something you shouldn't be doing.

Do you know what would help remove abortion stigma? Law reform.

So it's up to you, really.

We're here to support you. We'll march, write, yell, tweet, update the hell out of our Facebook statuses, and vote for a woman's right to choose. But we need you to do the law changing.

We need you to take the lead.

Please think about it.

Kind regards,


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Southland pro-choice activity

Mothers for Choice and ALRANZ are working together to stage some pro-choice events to counter the anti-choice activity that is going on there in the wake of Southern DHB's intention to set up a much-needed abortion service in Invercargill.

Know anyone in Invercargill that may be interested in heading along to support the pro-choice cause and the move to set up the abortion service?

If you need any motivation, we've got a douchebag anti-choice pediatrician threatening to resign if the service is started up (even though he's not legally required to participate or be involved in abortion at all. Never mind that he's a PEDIATRICIAN and has nothing to do with abortion.) and a Catholic Bishop waxing lyrical about a "culture of death".

There's also pro-choice protesting going on in Dunedin. ALRANZ's Facebook page is a good way of keeping up with all of this if you're interested.


ALRANZ and its Southland members, with the support of Mothers for Choice, have organised a pro-choice meeting in Invercargill. We hope you can come. Check out the Event on Facebook. And stay tuned here and on our FB page for other pro-choice events in Invercargill next week.


WHEN: Thursday, 16 August. 7-9 p.m.

WHERE: Southland Community House, upstairs at 46 Kelvin Street, Invercargill.

For more info, or if you need a lift to the meeting, drop us a line at

Here’s ALRANZ's coverage of what’s been going on in Southland.


ALRANZ member, journalist and author Dr. Alison McCulloch will give a lecture on “The History of the Abortion Rights Struggle in New Zealand” at Southern Institute of Technology’s Hanson Hall on Friday 17 August, 1 p.m. – 2 p.m. The talk is based around her book, forthcoming in 2013, on the same topic, and will situate the current debate in Southland in a wider historical and political context.


An event with ALRANZ president, Dr. Morgan Healey. Details TBA. Stay tuned.

For more information on any of these events, email

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The distress of abortion

Tonight I attended a ‘Women’s Choice – Suffrage eve debate’ whereby a political panel of which representatives from ACT, Greens, Labour, Mana, and National were available to answer questions submitted by representatives from women’s organisations.

I was tasked with asking a question about what political parties would do to reform our medically outdated 36 year old abortion law, including the fact that abortion is still in the Crimes Act (1961).

All representatives replied that they were pro-choice, which I was pleased to hear, yet none of them were able to say that their party had consensus on the issue and none of them were able to commit to putting in a bill in themselves.

This disappoints me.

A couple of the candidates went on to mention the “traumatic decision” that women have to make when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I agree that there is distress involved with unplanned pregnancy but I disagree that much of the distress is around the decision itself.

The distress lies in the process to get an abortion.
The distress is in the lengthy waiting times.
The distress is in the multiple appointments.
The distress is having to convince two certifying consultants that they should approve your own decision.
The distress is going to an unfamiliar environment and feeling that you should be ashamed of something you shouldn’t be.

It’s about time that politicians acknowledged that the law creates distress for women who are already having to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. It’s about time we changed our abortion law to really allow a woman the right to choose and let’s not subject her to the distress of the current system.

Let’s take abortion out of the Crimes Act.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Flurry of media coverage around parental notification

In May the Sunday Star Times appears to have started a bit of a campaign around supporting parental notification for "teen" abortions, featuring SHOCK stories at the top of their news agenda three weeks' running.

Mothers For Choice did some media work in response to this, in particular the following:

Spokesperson Rebecca Matthews on Back Benchers (in Chapter 2)
Row rages over school abortion  - NZ Herald
Some abortion secrets need to be kept, say advocates  - TVNZ
Debate continues over abortion controversy - Otago Daily Times
I wrote a blog post critiquing the original SST article
Mothers For Choice backs girls' right - our original media release on the issue at Scoop

Court of Appeal decide against Right to Life NZ

On June 1st the Court of Appeal announced their decision in the long-running case taken by Right To Life NZ (RTL) against the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC). 

The basic gist of it is that they have overturned the previous High Court decision is which Justice Miller raised questions about the legality of the 98% of abortions permitted on the grounds of the mental health of the pregnant person. 

The Court of Appeal has also rejected RTL's claims that the fetus has a right to life.  (Wonder if they're going to change their name?)

Here's the Court of Appeal decision (PDF, quite long) and a summary.  The ALRANZ site has a timeline of the whole saga.

Also a round-up of pro-choice blog-posts on the matter, from The Hand Mirror.

Media coverage:
Unborn have no right to life: Court of Appeal rules - Stuff
Appeal court strikes out abortion finding - NZ Herald
Praise for court ruling over abortion - Newstalk ZB - includes link to Mike Hosking talking to Dame Margaret Sparrow of ALRANZ about the announcement
Anti-abortion group considers taking case to Supreme Court - NZ Herald

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Update soonish

There's been lots and lots going on since the last News post in October last year - not least a pro-choice gathering in Wellington and some media work recently on the issue of parental notification.  Hopefully we'll get some time to update the news section soon.  Our Facebook page is pretty much always up to date, so if in doubt check there.  Thanks for your patience.