Mistake in abortion vote allows safe areas but no way of setting them up

The final stage of the Abortion reform Bill was debated in Parliament yesterday and last night, with Supplementary Order Paper amendments being voted on.  A late night mistake has resulted in an unintended change.

A David Seymour amendment to axe ‘safe areas’ from protests near where abortions are carried out are failed. But a stuff up removed the part of legislation allowing safe areas to be set up.

So safe areas will be allowed, but there is no way to set them up.

Stuff: Last minute mistake changes abortion law as Parliament accidentally passes amendment

A cross-party attempt to reform New Zealand’s abortion laws looked like it would emerge intact from a debate on proposed amendments until a dramatic last minute mistake axed one of its key provisions.

The amendments, known as Supplementary Order Papers or SOPs, were the subject of a lengthy debate that stretched from Tuesday afternoon to the early hours of Wednesday morning.

An attempt by ACT leader David Seymour to axe “safe areas” failed, but a last minute mistake by MPs supporting safe areas meant that safe areas were effectively nixed anyway, despite a definition for safe areas remaining in the bill.

Seymour proposed an amendment to remove safe areas from the bill. The bill initially allowed a safe areas to be established up to 150 metres around a place offering abortion services. It would be illegal to protest against abortions in these areas.

The intention was to prevent American-style protests where people getting abortions are harassed and intimidated before visiting clinics.

The first part of the amendment failed, but by a very tight margin, 59 votes to 56, however later in the night a second part to his amendment passed effectively by accident.

The second part of Seymour’s amendment was to delete parts of the bill that would give effect to the safe areas. It went to a voice vote, where MPs vote by saying “aye” and “no”, which it passed.

MPs then had an opportunity to call a conscience vote on the amendment as they had done for other amendments that night, but supporters of safe areas failed to do this, meaning the amendment passed. A late attempt by Green MP Jan Logie to save the provision failed.

This means that while safe areas remain in the legislation, the parts of the bill relating to establishing safe areas and making them function have been removed – effectively making it impossible to set one up.

This demonstrates a problem with long sittings dealing with a lot of amendments late in the legislative process. It isn’t a good way to form laws.

All the speeches and votes here:

https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/hansard-debates/rhr/drilldown/HansD_20200310_20200310/HansDeb_20200310_20200310_20?Criteria.PageNumber=1

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33 Comments

  1. Corky

     /  11th March 2020

    A dangerous move. If protesters are causing problems – arrest them. Trespass them if possible.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  11th March 2020

    More spectacular competence from Labour steering their key legislation.
    There should be no restrictions on any protests done in a peaceful law abiding way, regardless of how distasteful one finds folk giving up their free time to try and save a life

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  11th March 2020

      Minor mistake …done late at night when a lost voices vote should have been followed by a full tally vote… happens to every government

      Reply
      • David

         /  11th March 2020

        They dont exactly do a lot of legislating and this was one of Arderns key policies. Too many members of the government have to rush home to do childcare including their leader of the house and not doing the yards to make sure abortion can be done with ease and little hassle. Ironic eh.

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  11th March 2020

        Surely the stupidity is a system that doesn’t allow a silly mistake to be corrected?

        Reply
  3. johnnyanders

     /  11th March 2020

    No safe area for an unborn children transported to abortion clinics eh?

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  11th March 2020

      Same problem as all your unborn sperm, Johnny. Do they give you sleepless nights?

      Reply
      • Sperm are cells. Babies are babies. Biology is hard, eh? Except… it’s kinda not… discrete creatures and toenails are pretty different really. Monty Python sketches =/= science.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  12th March 2020

          All cells are life, Blair. Pick and choose amongst them as you wish but don’t expect others to follow your choices.

          Reply
          • No, cells are components of living creatures. They don’t live or survive apart from their host. A sperm is not separate from me. It’s part of my body, just like a hair follicle.

            You’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  12th March 2020

              Unfortunately you can’t distinguish opinions from facts. Your sperm is no more a part of your body than a fetus is.

            • Duker

               /  12th March 2020

              Isn’t the sperm as much ‘life’ as a foetus according to some religious beliefs….or even a butterfly or gnat…where is the line drawn

            • Duker

               /  12th March 2020

              The Catholic Church believes life begins at conception …..only since 1869
              The Catholic Church’s current position on abortion is 144 years old. In the 1869 document Apostolicae Sedis, Pope Pius IX declared the penalty of excommunication for abortions at any stage of pregnancy. Up to then Catholic teaching was that no homicide was involved if abortion took place before the foetus was infused with a soul, known as “ensoulment”.

              In 1591 Pope Gregory had determined ensoulment occured after 166 days, which is 24 weeks , that’s around the same period for legal abortion in UK
              https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/catholic-church-teaching-on-abortion-dates-from-1869-1.1449517

            • See, there’s your opinion, and there’s biology, and there’s a vast gulf between the two. If you don’t get it, i suggest visiting your local library.

            • The Didache forbids abortion, and dates to the 1st Century, so your church history is nonsense.

            • Duker

               /  13th March 2020

              Doesnt the Church also say masturbation is a sin as its a waste for potential life of something. Clearly not a mortal sin , seems like eraly abortion before 1869 was something the same. It was clearly not seen as killing a child , as it wasnt a child till it had a soul.

            • I don’t care, I’m not Roman Catholic. I don’t have to defend something I know nothing about.

              Abortion is taking life. It’s immoral. If the RCC agrees, good for them. It’s got nothing to do with masturbation. If more people masturbated, we wouldn’t need to worry about abortion.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  13th March 2020

              Alan says that a cell can become a cancer, a child or an implant.

              But not the same cell, surely. It’s not eeny meeny miny……

          • The Didache forbids abortion, and dates to the 1st Century, so your church history is not relevant.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  13th March 2020

              How come the Pope in 1869 had to issue an encyclical then?
              Thats because the foetus ‘didnt have a soul’ until 24 weeks before that date , so wasnt homocide.
              Isnt excommunication reserved for mortal sins, so that abortion previously was only a ‘little sin’ that some ‘rosarys’ could absolve ?

            • I’m not Roman Catholic so I have no idea what their theology is on the issue. It’s quite irrelevant, since i am discussing science and biology, not religion.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th March 2020

              There’s zero science or biology in your claims about cells etc. Science is about measurable and observable, not about classification. That’s just arbitrary stamp collecting on which anyone can have a view. You can check that out by testing your claims to see if they are disprovable by experiment.

              For example your claim that sperm are just part of your body is clearly false as they not only can exist outside it but are designed and produced for exactly that.

            • You’re absolutely mad.

              My cells have identical DNA to the rest of me. That’s why they’re my cells.

              Sperm cannot exist outside of my body. They die like skin, hair and toenails. They are cells.

              Are you serious? Nobody is this stupid, surely? Do you not know the difference between a cell and a child? I am citing biology here. You seem to have some religious belief about this because you think something that’s alive with the same dna is the same as something that’s a discrete creature.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th March 2020

              You appear not to have noticed that a cell can become a child or a cancer or an implant.

            • Cells are the components of living creatures. A child is a separate creature. Cancer is not. I don’t know why this is so hard. People are ignoring science because they desperately want to believe something that confirms their biases and prejudices.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  13th March 2020

              Even a virus is a separate creature as it is amply demonstrating.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  13th March 2020

              That is irrelevant. It can’t grow into a sentient being.

  4. oldlaker

     /  11th March 2020

    Another win for David Seymour! I wouldn’t underestimate the pull of his free speech stance at the election to bring in people who would otherwise never dream of voting Act.

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  11th March 2020

      If Magic Radio callers are anything to go by; he’s on a roll. Many have said they are switching from National and NZ1.

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  12th March 2020

      The libertarian stance has been around for ages with ACT , especially since Seymour arrived. still 1-2%. Sure it might rise a bit once they arent poodles for a national government . And the whole charter school thing was a huge waste of effort for its target voters, thats because its the Gibbs’s pet project and they both give enough money to make sure they get what they want
      However Seymours the wrong messenger, hes a policy wonk whos done a bit of media training and doesnt have a natural ability to communicate, unfortunately NZ TV is full of them who got their jobs by who they know not because of communication gifts.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  13th March 2020

        He is an excellent communicator and an extremely intelligent man. Don’t underestimate him.

        Reply
  1. Mistake in abortion vote allows safe areas but no way of setting them up — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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