26 Jun 2022

'Complacency is a greater danger than undue alarm' - NZ abortion advocate

11:14 am on 26 June 2022

An advocate says New Zealand's abortion rights are still vulnerable to change and people can't be complacent.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 24: People protest in response to the Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 24, 2022 in Washington, DC. The Court's decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health overturns the landmark 50-year-old Roe v Wade case and erases a federal right to an abortion.   Brandon Bell/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Brandon Bell / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Abortion rights protesters outside the Supreme Court in Washington DC. Photo: AFP

Millions of Americans have now lost their constitutional right to abortion after that country's Supreme Court overturned its Roe v Wade decision.

Terry Bellamak of the Abortion Law Reform Association New Zealand said the shock move was a risk to abortion rights here.

She argued that abortion reform in Aotearoa was still a work in progress.

"I think complacency is a greater danger than undue alarm," she said.

"Keep in mind, abortion law reform in New Zealand is only two years old, that's not very old at all. It's still a work in progress, this is a dangerous time."

Bellamark said current abortion law in New Zealand could be interpreted differently and restricted under a different government.

Although National Party leader Christopher Luxon has said current laws would not be challenged if his party took power, Bellamark said that sort of pledge was hard to believe.

"Well six Supreme Court justices lied through their teeth to the US Senate in their confirmation hearings, saying that they agreed Roe vs Wade was settled law," she said.

Parliament removed restrictions on abortion up to 20 weeks into a pregnancy in 2020.

Meanwhile, a New Zealand-American footware company based in San Francisco is offering to support any American employee seeking an abortion.

Allbirds chief executive Joseph Zwillinger says the company employs hundreds of people across many states, which will each have their own abortion laws, after the overturning of Roe v Wade.

He said the Supreme Court's decision affected the rights and lives of its employees.

The company will cover the travel costs of employees who go to a state that legally allows abortion.

Zwillinger said the court's decision meant a loss of autonomy for American women and a step backwards.

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