Jacinda Ardern committed to abortion law reform, but National's leadership candidates all object

Katie Bradford
Source: 1News

Labour campaigned on reforming New Zealand's 40-year-old abortion laws and remains committed to it, but National's three new leadership contenders all oppose the change.

The Prime Minister has promised to reform New Zealand's abortion laws this parliamentary term, along with two other big social reforms: euthanasia and medicinal cannabis.

"People should be able to exercise their own rights and I as a parliamentarian shouldn't stand in the way of that," Jacinda Ardern said.

New Zealand's abortion law is 40-years-old and is part of the Crimes Act.

To get an abortion women have to see two medical professionals and prove having the baby will cause them mental harm.

But none of the three national leadership contenders are keen on a law change.

"Some people think it's too conservative, some people think it's too liberal, i think it's something this parliament could do well to leave alone,' Judith Collins said.

"Women are getting the help they need in appropriate circumstances the advice I have is they are and that's critical so I'm not in favour of throwing that all up," Amy Adams said.

"It should be rare, safe and legal that would be my position," Simon Bridges said.

But the abortion supervisory committee say it should be treated as a medical, rather than a criminal issue.

And Justice Minister Andrew Little has made steps towards asking the Law Commission to review the current situation.

"The draft referral letter asks them to consider the issue about the criminalising of abortion but also to look at modernising the law," Mr Little said.

The Prime Minister told 1NEWS she hopes any law changes can be made this Parliamentary term.

She also insists there'll be no changes to the time-frame in which women can have an abortion - which is up to 19 weeks.

Any abortion law reform will be a conscience vote in Parliament.