Sir Bill English joins anti-abortion activists in march through Wellington

Sir Bill English was among more than a thousand anti-abortion campaigners who marched through Wellington on Saturday afternoon.

The former prime minister joined MPs and GPs to take over Wellington's busiest shopping street as the debate over taking abortion out of the Crimes Act picks up steam.

It's the second year the March for Life has been held in Wellington - last year's marked 40 years since the passing of the Act that allowed abortions to become more easily available. Organisers say this year the crowd was double the size.

"We've had forty years of abortion, over 500,000 children have been legally aborted, and why aren't we looking at that and talking about that and listening to people's voices who've been affected?" asked protestor Kate Cormack.

"It's pretty exciting that people are interested and want to get out and come from all over New Zealand to be part of that."

Three models have been proposed by the Law Commission to take abortion out of the Crimes Act and make it a health matter. It's a controversial subject.

"Fundamentally, this is a very divisive topic. It's certainly my hope that New Zealanders over the coming months have a proper and full discussion on this issue," says National MP Simon O'Connor.

On Wednesday a pro-choice march went to Parliament. Today's marchers say they'd like to see both sides put aside their differences, as they both care about human rights, and access to healthcare.

"We've got a lot of common ground, there's just this one giant thing we can't agree on," Ms Cormack says.

And while the aim is to eventually never have to march again, organisers say they're prepared to do it every year to make their voices heard.


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