On the front lines of the NZ abortion rights struggle

La Ranita has a post up at the ALRANZ blog about her attendance at the Supreme Court hearing on the Right to File Ownership Papers On Your Uterus case against the Abortion Supervisory Committee.  On the basis of her report, I have to be optimistic – RTL’s lawyer sounds like a complete numpty.

Again, things kept coming back to how the ASC can be assessing certifying consultants’ performance without second-guessing their clinical judgement in each case. RTL argue that certifying consultants are “gatekeepers” and need to be honest. While clinical decisions are theirs to make, the ASC can review them (again, how this can be done without second-guessing the clinical decision was never made clear. And round and round we go, for a couple of hours…)

This decision has the potential to severely fuck with pregnant people’s access to abortion in NZ.

There’s a nasty little part of me, backed up by my own economic and social privilege, which can see the silver lining of such a decision, though – because right now, far too many people, including people who probably think of themselves as middle-of-the-road but are actually prochoice once you strip out the Family First spin on issues like parental notification or waiting periods, don’t think there’s a problem with our laws.

Because they never come up against them, never have to try to find two, let alone one, certifying consultant to sign off on their right to control their own fertility.  They never have to deal with having to travel cross-country to get their procedure certified, and then performed, maybe having to take time off work or find childcare – because they probably also don’t think about people who are already parents wanting, or needing, to have abortions.

Part of me really feels we need some horrible, ghastly, heartrending catalyst to actually make so-called progressives sit the hell up and realise that there’s a problem.

But you know, I will happily settle for Right to Tell You What To Do getting their sanctimonious butts handed to them so organisations like ALRANZ can get on with changing mainstream attitudes and getting our politicians to realise that the vocal religious minority who get their thrills screwing over peopel with uteri aren’t actually any kind of major voting bloc.  Hence the whole, “Conservative Party aren’t in Parliament” thing.


  1. La Ranita

    Thanks for writing that. People who had been to the Court of Appeal hearing said that a lot of what McKenzie was saying in this hearing was just repitition of what he said in the Court of Appeal hearing. And they clearly can’t let the “foetus has full human rights” thing go, despite that being thrown out at the Court of Appeal stage.

    • QoT

      I think they work on the “keep repeating your key message until it’s accepted” basis. And haven’t figured out that Supreme Court justices might not appreciate been preached to (at least in a legally-irrelevant way).

      • Pascal's bookie

        I think are elements of wanting to lose at play.

        Getting the SC to make explicit, once again, that a “foetus does not have full human rights” feeds their grievance.

        They genuinely think that it’s ignorance of what is going on, ignorance of the law, that is stopping their being more outrage.

        I suspect that they think that by being able to quote an SC ruling slapping down the idea that a “foetus has full human rights”, they will make progress.

        I call it the silent majority fallacy.

        • QoT

          And I already thought the antichoice point of view made no sense to me … but I guess there’s no arguing with people whose self-worth derives from convincing themselves the world is evil and ungodly and they’ll sure show us when the Rapture comes.