New Zealand MP Bashes Labour Govt for Blocking Right to Know Abortion Bill

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 9, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand MP Bashes Labour Govt for Blocking Right to Know Abortion Bill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 9
, 2008

Wellington, New Zealand ( — Independent MP Gordon Copeland is accusing the Labour Party leaders of blocking a vote on a bill he’s sponsored that would ensure women considering an abortion are informed about its risks and alternatives. Copeland’s Right to Know bill is similar to measures in American legislatures.

On Wednesday, Copeland devoted a speech before the New Zealand Parliament to his Informed Consent bill and complained about the prevention of a vote.

Under the rules of parliament, just one MP can block the introduction of a bill — and several Labour Party MPs did just that.

Copeland said he wasn’t surprised the government leaders didn’t want to vote on helping women and limiting abortions, but he says there is a growing consensus in New Zealand for those goals.

In a statement obtained, Copeland told his colleagues he thinks New Zealand’s abortion rate, now at 312 abortions per 1000 live births annually, is one of the highest in the world.

"Even many in the pro-choice camp, such as Dr. Margaret Sparrow, now lament the high number of abortions in New Zealand," he explained.

Even though New Zealand is far from considering a ban on abortions, Copeland says both sides in the abortion debate should unite behind his bill to at least make sure women are informed and abortions are reduced as much as possible.

"My Informed Consent Bill, which is similar to bills which have been advanced in the USA at state level, has the potential to achieve that outcome," he said.

Copeland says the growing view among residents of the island nation comes in part from new research showing abortion has serious and long-lasting mental health effects on women.

"The other reality which has changed the politics of this debate, is the growing acceptance that abortion is harmful to women," Copeland explained. "Professor David Fergusson’s Christchurch based study concluded that women who have abortions subsequently have significantly higher mental health problems."

Copeland also pointed to a March statement from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK which came to the same conclusion about abortion’s emotional problems.

"They believe that women should not be allowed to have abortions until they have been properly counseled on the possible risk to their mental health — which is exactly what my Bill provides," Copeland concluded.

Related web sites:
Right to Life of New Zealand –