Helen Clark asserts abortion issue doesn’t need a referendum

The resounding vote for women’s rights in the Irish abortion referendum has raised the positing that a referendum on abortion in New Zealand may bring our laws into the 21st century (if that’s what a majority wants).

But Helen Clark doesn’t think this is necessary – a bit ironic given her lack of action as Prime Minister.

A curious comment given that Helen Clark led the New Zealand Government for nine years without promoting any consultation or policy or legislation that address the archaic and largely ignored abortion law.

Governments and parties have proven to be very conservative on a number of important social issues, like abortion, cannabis and drug law reform, and euthanasia. Some may say gutless.

A push for referendums may be a way to push the Government to actually do something. Nothing much else has worked, apart from private members’ bills, so threatening to take some of their power (and give it to the people) might be what it needs to get them to actually do something rather than say they could have like Clark has.

And a referendum doesn’t take away the need for “Policy and legislation can be developed in a consultative way” – that is required with or without a referendum.

I’d be quite happy for the Government to just fix our demeaning abortion law and our disastrous drug laws, but if those changes were confirmed by popular vote it would strengthen their standing.

I think that euthanasia should go to referendum anyway.

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17 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  May 28, 2018

    What Helen means is if she was in charge she would decide what is to happen and then arrange for various people to be consulted and then it would be done.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  May 28, 2018

      Possibly afraid binding referenda would catch on.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  May 28, 2018

        I don’t see that it’s necessary given that abortion is de facto on demand and that is unlikely to change.

        Helen Clark – another person who doesn’t know that referendum is a gerund, ergo has no plural in Latin. If it did, it would be referendi, anyway.

        Reply
  2. Corky

     /  May 28, 2018

    I think Helen doesn’t want to risk a referendum. She knows quite well, as did John Key with his support the anti smacking bill, that New Zealand has far more socially conservative folk than mainstream media would have us believe.

    Reply
    • Ray

       /  May 28, 2018

      Maybe Corky but I doubt that we could be more conservative than the Irish, let’s have a referendum and see.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  May 28, 2018

        Agreed, maybe in the last few years. However, we wouldn’t have had the anti smacking and gay marriage bill if this had gone to referendum a few years back.

        I also agree we should have a referendum because that finalises the issue.

        Oh, by the way, I support abortion and gay marriage. I don’t support the bullshit and white washing of the issues surrounding them though. For example the mental health of women who have had an abortion. Ireland will be a great example as many Irish women are conditioned by religion( subconsciously).That may conflict with their mental health when they have an abortion. There are also claims women may be more suspectable to breast cancer after an abortion( repeat-claims). There is also the problem of school girls having abortions without parental knowledge.

        Reply
    • Griff

       /  May 28, 2018

      Abortion poll
      March 13, 2017

      Curia did polling for ALRANZ on views of legality of abortion in different scenarios.

      The net level of support (those saying legal less those saying illegal for each circumstance was:
      – Pregnant woman likely to die +72%
      – Foetus has no chance of survival +70%
      – Pregnant woman likely to be permanently harmed +70%
      – Pregnancy is a result of rape +65%
      – Pregnancy is a result of birth control failure +31%
      – Pregnant mother can’t afford to have another child +27%
      – Pregnant woman doesn’t want to be a mother +22%

      https://www.curia.co.nz/2017/03/abortion-poll/
      http://alranz.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Abortion-Issues-Poll-Results-January-2017.pdf

      Yip those darn hidden Conservatives.

      The moral minority would not dictate abortion law if it went to referendum.

      The overton window has moved .
      Clark is right, repeated polling says there is widespread support for moving towards more liberal laws including removing abortion from the crimes Act.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  May 28, 2018

        Then let’s have a referendum and put the issue to bed. Are we a democracy?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 28, 2018

          Flag referendum said we are, I guess.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  May 28, 2018

            Yes, a conservative(?) result. All the more reason for a referendum on these issues.

            Reply
      • Griff

         /  May 28, 2018

        There is of course this.
        https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2018/01/shock-poll-nzers-want-stricter-limits-on-abortion/
        Some one not giving an opinion is not supporting your views .
        The clear majority who do have an opinion support change.

        As to the statement.

        Research has found significant support for greater time limits on abortion, including from those who generally support abortion. There was surprisingly small support for the current Crimes Act time limit of 20 weeks, and overwhelming rejection of any extension to the limit. There was also strong support for legal safeguards.

        Those who are informed on abortion know that getting the procedure after 14 weeks is handled differently then earlier term.
        Only around 6.2 percent of abortions are preformed after 14 weeks.
        Late term abortions are restricted by the higher cost and complexity as well as the ethical approach the medical community already take towards the procedure.
        After 14 weeks abortion is only preformed by a restricted number of clinics .
        You must see a specialist surgeon and convince him you should get one of the limited spaces available.
        After 16 weeks the difficulty of actually getting an abortion rises considerably again.
        After 20 I dont even think we do it here instead send only a small number of the most risky cases to clinics in Au.

        Reply
  3. David

     /  May 28, 2018

    Hate to say it but Clark is right on this one, the parliament has enough sensible folk there to be able to update our abortion laws. In effect its readily available albeit with some inconvenient hurdles which as an adopted person from a time when it wasnt available I see the need for but perhaps asked in a more dignified way and in a more timely manner.
    If it s turned into a referendum then all the crazies from the extremes send the media into a frenzy and everyone gets polarized and nothing sensible happens and the country is divided unnecessarily. Referendums should be restricted to constitutional matters only imho.

    Reply
    • Agree. It also won’t help that questions in a referendum will likely be worded so that *some* people will be confused by it (like smacking referendum), or will need a copy of the tentative law to provide an informed choice – which most won’t read

      Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  May 28, 2018

    sorry auntie helen, dot agree..
    methinks ALL major ‘social issues’ need such measures, before law reform

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  May 28, 2018

      The downsides to referendums in this country are
      1. Getting the questions right
      2. Getting the politicians to agree to make them binding referendums & to carry them out
      3. Getting the issue revisited if the referendum fails but shouldn’t have.

      Reply

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