'Pro-lifers' to march against abortion law reform

A March for Life rally during 2018, in Wellington.
A March for Life rally during 2018, in Wellington. Photo credit: March for Life NZ/Facebook.

Thousands of pro-lifers are expected to gather at Auckland's Aotea square on Saturday afternoon for the March for Life.

With parliament's upcoming conscience vote on liberalising abortion laws, the anti-abortion activists will make a public stand for the "unborn and their often vulnerable mothers".

"We intend to show Parliament that unborn life is not without advocates in New Zealand, and that there are many in New Zealand willing to be a voice for the voiceless," said Emma Rankin, March for Life Auckland spokesperson.

Organisers say National Party MPs Agnes Loheni, Alfred Ngaro and Simon O'Connor will address the crowd.

"Speakers will include a post-abortive woman who will be sharing her story about the pain she still experiences from her abortion, and her desire to see other Kiwi woman saved from her grief," said Rankin.

The Abortion Legislation Bill would take abortion out of the Crimes Act and give women the right to an abortion in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy without restriction. 

In 2019 when National's Helensville MP Chris Penk claimed the Bill would allow abortions up to birth, Justice Minister Andrew Little called it "absurd misinformation". 

Abortion Providers Group Aotearoa New Zealand chairperson Helen Paterson told RNZ Penk's comments about late-term abortion were inaccurate. 

Paterson said only about 1 percent of abortions were carried out after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and only carried out when there was a risk to the mother or the foetus wouldn't survive.

"Talking about late-term abortion, that's just not accurate terminology. It's unhelpful and it's offensive for women who have to experience this, who are almost always in a very distressing situation where they don't have a significant choice," she said.