National Chief Christopher Luxon. Photo/Mark Mitchell
National is the only major New Zealand political party not to publicly denounce the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn a landmark ruling on abortion rights.
The decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which gave women the constitutional right to have an abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, has stunned the world and risks fueling political divisions across America .
Anti-abortion groups hailed the decision while abortion rights groups lamented the end of nearly 50 years of reproductive rights.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the decision “incredibly heartbreaking”.
“People are absolutely entitled to hold deep convictions on this issue. But those personal convictions should never prevent another from making their own decisions,” she said in a statement.
“To see this principle now lost in the United States is a loss for women everywhere. When there are so many problems to solve, so many challenges facing women and girls, we need progress, not fight the same battles and back down.” .”
In a one-line statement earlier today, National Leader Christopher Luxon’s office said its position was that New Zealand’s abortion laws were settled in the last Parliament and would not change under the national government he leads.
Luxon, a Christian who has described himself as “pro-life,” made no further comments beyond one also released by the party caucus, his spokesperson said earlier in the day.
A separate statement provided on the position of the national caucus described the US decision as “not a New Zealand problem”.
“Roe v Wade is a problem for the American people who have a different set of constitutional arrangements than New Zealand. It’s not a New Zealand problem.”
They respected the fact that among the public and within all political parties there was a range of opinions on “this sensitive issue”, which is why abortion laws have always been a vote of conscience in the New Zealand Parliament, the caucus said.
“New Zealand’s abortion laws were thoroughly debated, voted on and finally settled in the last Parliament, and therefore these laws will not be challenged or revisited under a future national government.”
Then at 6:38 p.m. today, Luxon made a personal comment on the Roe vs. Wade decision via his Twitter profile.
“Roe v Wade is a problem for the American people who have a different set of constitutional arrangements than ours. New Zealand’s abortion laws were passed and ultimately settled in the last parliament. These laws will not be challenged or revisited under a future national government,” Luxon tweeted.
Parliament voted 68 to 51 two years ago to decriminalize abortion and allow women to choose a termination for up to 20 weeks.
Before the law change, two doctors were required to approve an abortion, and this could only happen if there was a “serious danger” to the woman’s health.
An ambiguous Facebook post by National MP Tamaki Simon O’Connor worried some social media users this morning, who interpreted the post to mean he supported the US Supreme Court’s decision.
“Today is a good day,” O’Connor wrote in a post against a backdrop of fluttering love hearts.
O’Connor, who trained to become a Catholic priest but did not seek ordination, could not be contacted to clarify his message. Luxon, through his spokesperson, had no immediate comment on the post.
But O’Connor’s comment, which elicited more than 360 responses, alarmed some.
“Actually, it’s not a good day in the United States. And I guess I’m right in assuming that’s what you’re talking about. In your secret not-so-cute way. #DogWhistle,” one wrote.
Others backed what they also believed to be a post referencing the US decision.
“It’s a wonderful day. Thank you Lord and all those mighty prayer warriors!” we wrote.
Today’s decision was a reminder “we must take nothing for granted in Aotearoa”, said Green Party MP Jan Logie.
“Aotearoa should be a place where everyone…can choose what suits their body and their future.
“We can’t let the Supreme Court’s decision embolden those who don’t share these values and want to limit access to abortion,” Logie said.
The vote to decriminalize abortion was a step forward, but also “too close” to slack off.
“We must be mindful of those who still want to control a person’s right to choose.
“Abortion is a health issue…but it doesn’t stop there. For people to truly choose whether to get or stay pregnant, we also need to make sure they have everything they need. need to be able to provide for themselves and their families.”
Act party leader David Seymour said he was ‘stunned’ by today’s decision.
“I feel for the women in 20 states who woke up today and lost the right to determine how they use their own bodies.”
Half of US states, mostly in the South and Midwest, are expected to ban abortion or impose heavy restrictions as a result of today’s ruling.
Act was “strongly pro-choice,” Seymour said.
“People can have any view they want on the morality of abortion, but … having the state apparatus go after pregnant women trying to force them to carry unwanted pregnancies to term is everything. just a really counterproductive thing for a government.”
He didn’t fear for abortion rights in New Zealand – many of those who voted against decriminalization have since left Parliament.
But the world’s most powerful democracy would look inward just when it needed to look outward, when it came to the economy, trade and security, Seymour said.
Passionate opponents would enter politics to fight the decision.
“It’s going to have a serious medium-term effect, that’s for sure…I suspect that the people who supported this decision probably don’t quite understand what they woke up.”