Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has weighed in on the debate raging around whether New Zealand should follow Ireland by holding a referendum over abortion legislation.
Ms Clark tweeted today that the NZ Government should attempt to push through a potential abortion law change without going to the public for referenda.
She claims that most issues ought not to require that kind of cost to the country, and says the law can be changed simply by developing policy and legislation.
The tweet comes just a day after Ireland took a leap forward for their country and voted by a landslide to legalise abortion.
- Abortion debate: 'Progressive' Ireland set to leapfrog NZ
- Ireland votes to legalise abortion in 'quiet revolution'
- Ardern: Abortion 'shouldn't be in the crimes act'
Currently, New Zealand law stipulates that abortion is a crime unless it is one of the following situations:
if the pregnancy is a risk to the physical or mental health of the mother
if there's a substantial risk that the child would be "seriously handicapped"
if the child is a result of incest
if the woman is "severely subnormal".
None of these situations apply if the gestation has passed 20 weeks.
It also takes two doctors to sign off an abortion and women must prove they are unable to care for a child, leading them to often lie about their mental and physical states in order to get an abortion.
Pro-choice groups are currently pushing to get abortion removed from the Crimes Act.