Full-term abortion 'murder' - Christine Rankin

Christine Rankin has come out swinging against a change to New Zealand's abortion laws.

Rankin, who used to be the Conservative Party's CEO and ran as a candidate in 2014, said she understands the law would allow for an abortion later in pregnancy than the current law.

"To think of a full-term abortion, that's murder, that's a living, breathing baby and we're talking about it's going to be okay, no sorry it's not okay," Rankin told The AM Show.

Newsreader Ingrid Hipkiss interjected to say abortions would only be provided after 20 weeks pregnancy in serious cases, but Rankin wasn't hearing it.

"They're saying beyond 20 weeks in circumstances they agree with they can have an abortion."

New Zealanders already can and do have abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, although they are very rare.

Stats NZ data shows in 2018 56 abortions took place after the 20th week, out of 13,282 in total.  Most of the terminations - 60 percent - took place before the 10th week of pregnancy.

People seeking an abortion under the current law must meet tougher criteria than if they were seeking it earlier in the pregnancy and foetal abnormality in itself is not accepted. Instead, it must be to save the life of the mother or to prevent serious permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother.

Under the new law abortion qualified health practitioners would be able to provide abortion services up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Once a person seeking an abortion passes 20 weeks of pregnancy they will need to pass a statutory test, where the health practitioner reasonably believes it is appropriate in the circumstances. 

The Bill says health practitioners will need to consider a person's physical and mental health, as well as wellbeing.

Rankin described herself as "anti-abortion", saying had she had an abortion when she fell pregnant unexpectedly she would not have her son.

"I got pregnant at 18 and was absolutely terrified of my father and if I could have I would have and I have this beautiful 47-year-old son who has given me utter pleasure.

"He's the most amazing man. He wouldn't be here and I can't help but use that experience as my view."

Abortion wasn't legal when Rankin had her son in the early 1970s, it wasn't available until the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act came into place in 1977.

The Act still governs how abortions are provided in New Zealand and would be replaced by the Bill currently before Parliament.


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