Pro-lifers cover Parliament's lawn with babies' booties

Anti-abortion protestors have covered Parliament's lawn in 13,285 pairs of booties to represent the number of abortions in New Zealand last year.

Voice for Life President Jacqui de Ruiter said the womb should be the safest place in the world.

"Abortion should not be an option", she said.


We're doing this to show the public and Parliament that we are really concerned about the lives lost and that there must be a better way."

"Thousands of people all over New Zealand have knitted these booties in remembrance. Each pair symbolises little human boys and girls who are vulnerable and need love and protection", Mrs de Ruiter said.

Pro-lifers cover Parliament's lawn with babies' booties
Photo credit: Anna Bracewell-Worrall/Newshub.

But the booties brigade was outnumbered two-to-one by pro-choice protestors, including 13 women dressed as handmaids, as depicted in the TV series The Handmaid's Tale.

The counter-protesters outside the Beehive.
The counter-protesters outside the Beehive. Photo credit: Emma Jolliff/Newshub.

Handmaiden Jess Ducey said the handmaids are an extension of what happens when women's bodies are not their own.

"When the state believe it knows better than women what they should do and knows what's best for them".

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson said the law as it stands is about oppression. "That's exactly what the handmaids are reminding us of", she said.

But Mrs de Ruiter said when people talk about pro-choice they forget two words, their choice "to kill".

Terry Bellanak from the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand said the booties are about stigma.

"It's about guilt and shame to be heaped on people who have chosen abortion".

"We trust the people of New Zealand to make their own decisions.  Abortion is about healthcare", she said.

Pro-choice protestors carried placards saying "Mind your own uterus", "If you don't like abortion, don't have one" and "If it's not your body, it's not your decision".

Pro-lifers cover Parliament's lawn with babies' booties
Photo credit: Emma Jolliff/Newshub.

Abortion in New Zealand is still covered by the Crimes Act 1961 and requires the agreement of two certifying doctors.

Those certifying doctors have to state that continuing the pregnancy would result in serious danger to a woman's mental or physical health.

The Government has asked the Law Commission to consider changes to abortion, including removing abortion from the Crimes Act and instead making it a health issue.

The push for legislative change has cross-party support.

National's Amy Adams and Nikki Kaye said the first country to give women the vote shouldn't make women feel demonised, and have to construct a mental impairment excuse, to have an abortion.

The Law Commission is due to report back with any legislative recommendations at the end of the year.