National MP Simon O'Connor stands by 'pro-life' post, denies goading women over Roe v Wade ruling

Simon O'Connor has denied he was goading women when he posted celebratory comments online after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.

On Friday (local time), the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 ruling, which recognised the constitutional right to an abortion and legalised it nationwide.

Removing abortion as a constitutional right leaves it up to each state as to whether or how it may restrict it. The decision saw several states implement immediate bans, forcing women to travel long distances to access reproductive healthcare.

While many New Zealand politicians condemned the ruling online, O'Connor posted a heart image with the words: "Today is a good day".

The post didn't go down well and National leader Christopher Luxon later confirmed O'Connor had removed it because it was "causing distress" and didn't represent the position of the party.

Luxon went on to say despite being pro-life himself, New Zealand's abortion laws wouldn't be "relitigated or revisited" under a future National Government. Last year the National leader said he believes abortion is tantamount to murder.

When asked on Tuesday whether his post was meant to be inflammatory, O'Connor said no.

"Not at all. I have very clear pro-life views."

He said he took the post down because the comments were causing people "distress" and spiralling out of control.

But O'Connor went to great lengths to stress the decision to take the post down was his choice and Luxon didn't force him to.

"I made the choice to bring it down because of the distress it was causing and particularly the comments were getting pretty bad. Let me be absolutely clear I have not been gagged," he said.

When asked whether he maintains his view that Saturday was a good day, O'Connor said, "I am a pro-lifer, so yes".

But he admitted it was a "misstep on his part" because it had caused issues for the party.

"I am very clear that this has caused distress and trouble for the party that just wants to focus on big matters, so I am going to be very clear as I have already been to colleagues through a few messages, that this was a misstep on my part."

He said he would apologise to his coworkers at Parliament on Tuesday.

O'Connor also confirmed he would not make any attempt including by introducing a private members bill, to change New Zealand's abortion laws if National is elected.

He said he came into power to pursue education, foreign affairs and health. He didn't reveal whether he thought abortion was included in health or not.

O'Connor isn't the only one in hot water. On Monday acting Prime Minister Grant Robertson accused Luxon of putting out political spin to hide his real views on abortion.

Labour has also faced some heat with Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta facing criticism on Monday after she called the US ruling "draconian" despite voting against abortion reform two years ago.

In 2020, the Abortion Legislation Bill, which took abortion out of the Crimes Act, was voted in with 68 votes in favour to 51 against. It meant abortion was no longer a crime in Aotearoa.

It was a conscience vote which meant MPs could vote based on what they believed, not on party lines.

Of the 46 Labour MPs who voted, 37 voted for and 9 voted against. Of the 55 National MPs, 19 voted in favour and 35 voted against. The nine Green MPs all voted in favour along with ACT leader David Seymour.