‘There is a Row about Foetal Abnormality Underway’ : the debate about inclusion of a eugenics clause in the contraception, sterilisation, and abortion act, 1977–1978

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 5
  • Abstract:

    Abstract: On 15 December 1977 the New Zealand Parliament passed the highly restrictive Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act that determined the grounds on which a woman could legally procure an abortion. The passage of the law was the culmination of passionate debate between Members of Parliament (MPs). Indeed, a member of the ruling National Party’s Cabinet in the 1970s recalls that the abortion question caused ‘the bitterest parliamentary debates of the decade’.1 Occurring during a period of great social change in New Zealand, the abortion debate had raged across the country since the late 1960s and the governing National Party hoped the law would finally bring matters to an end. But its passage was also extremely controversial outside of Parliament, provoking strong criticism from the public regarding the contents of the law as well as the process the government had employed to pass it...