01:24 GMT21 September 2020
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    The nation's legislation aims to modernize abortion laws in place since 1977 and proposes that a woman should have access to abortion services until 20 weeks of pregnancy, Reuters reported.

    According to the media report, abortion in New Zealand is an offense under the Crimes Act, and a woman can only legally get an abortion if two doctors certify that continuing the pregnancy would result in danger to her mental or physical health.

    "Abortion is the only medical procedure that is still a crime in New Zealand. It's time for this to change [...] Safe abortion should be treated and regulated as a health issue; a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body", Justice Minister Andrew Little said in a statement cited by Reuters.

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to alter the current legislation after winning the 2017 election, but her plans were challenged by local male lawmakers who actively argued over the bill.

    According to Reuters, citing local pundits, the new legislation would allow for the creation of safe areas around specific abortion facilities to protect women from intimidation or harassment from anti-abortion activists.

    The grounds on which abortion can be approved by the doctors, however, are narrow and do not include reasons such as rape or inability to support a child, Reuters said.

    After 20 weeks, a pregnant woman would require one doctor to reasonably believe the procedure is appropriate with regard to the woman's physical condition as well as her mental health and well-being, the New Zealand government said in a statement, according to Reuters.


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