Auckland, 7 August 2019
On Monday the government introduced a long-awaited bill reforming New Zealand’s abortion laws. The bill removes abortion from the crimes act and makes it a women’s health issue.
In New South Wales a similar bill referring to ‘pregnant people’ rather than ‘women’ throughout has drawn condemnation from some feminist groups there. Ideologues closer to home are pushing for similar changes to be made to New Zealand’s new bill.
Ani O’Brien, spokeswomen for Speak Up For Women, says: ‘Removing the word ‘woman’ preferences individuals’ feelings about their identity over biological reality. Contorting our language to remove ‘woman’ from being central to the issue opens female bodily autonomy to more input from men, which feminists have long resisted. It’s politically vital we retain a word for our sex class.
“Justice Minister Andrew Little has rightly referred to this as a women’s health issue within the wording of the bill. Nowhere in law do we see men being called ‘people with prostates’. It’s misogyny to suggest removing ‘women’, plain and simple.
Women Aotearoa NZ, a group who advocate for gender equality, shared a message that said: “some men can & do get pregnant” and added “Trans and Nonbinary people get abortions too why, does the conversation surrounding reproductive rights exclude them?”
Ms O’Brien says: “Our reproductive potential is determined by our biological reality – our sex – not our feelings about gender. We’ve been oppressed because of our sex and we can’t identify out of oppression, we need real political action – like this reform bill – using the word that describes ourselves: women.”
Notes to editor:
NSW Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/bill/files/3654/First%20Print.pdf
Woman Aotearoa NZ tweet https://twitter.com/weavinghouse/status/1158260824806346752?s=21