The 2020 Abortion Legislation Act passed its third reading in parliament by a margin of 68 to 51. (Image: Archi Banal)
The 2020 Abortion Legislation Act passed its third reading in parliament by a margin of 68 to 51. (Image: Archi Banal)

PoliticsJuly 1, 2022

How would MPs vote on abortion reform today?

The 2020 Abortion Legislation Act passed its third reading in parliament by a margin of 68 to 51. (Image: Archi Banal)
The 2020 Abortion Legislation Act passed its third reading in parliament by a margin of 68 to 51. (Image: Archi Banal)

The US Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v Wade has put New Zealand politicians’ own stances on abortion in the spotlight. We asked MPs how they’d vote if the 2020 abortion reform legislation was back before parliament today.

On the evening of 18 March 2020, the Abortion Legislation Bill passed its third and final reading in parliament, 68 to 51. The resulting act, which saw abortion removed from the Crimes Act, was a landmark piece of legislation that made abortion entirely a healthcare issue rather than a potential crime. 

In the final reading, 18 National MPs voted in favour and 25 against, with one absent. Labour MPs voted 37 for and nine against. Two NZ First MPs voted for, and seven against. All eight members of the Green Party voted for reform. David Seymour, at the time Act’s lone MP, voted in favour, as did former National MP Jami-Lee Ross, who was by then an independent.

The US Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v Wade, the decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in 1973, has sparked discussion locally on our own abortion laws and our politician’s attitudes toward abortion. National Party leader Christopher Luxon’s personal stance against abortion came under scrutiny this week, especially after National MP Simon O’Connor published a social media post celebrating the decision. In response, Luxon promised his party wouldn’t revisit the current laws if he becomes prime minister. Meanwhile foreign affairs minister Naniaia Mahuta was accused by some of hypocrisy for condemning the US decision, despite voting against the 2020 abortion reforms.

We asked every MP who voted on that bill whether they would vote differently today, and newer MPs how they would vote today if given the opportunity.

Signs left by abortion-rights supporters line the security fence surrounding the Supreme Court in Washington on June 28 (Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Those who voted yes to abortion law reform in 2020

We asked: “Do you stand by your vote in the 2020 abortion law reform, or would you vote differently today? And, do you have any further comments on this?”

LABOUR

Kiri Allan

“Yes.”

Ginny Andersen

“My vote on abortion law reform would not change.”

Jacinda Ardern

“Here in New Zealand we recently legislated to decriminalise abortion and treat it as a health rather than criminal issue. That change was grounded in the fundamental belief that it’s a woman’s right to choose. People are absolutely entitled to have deeply held convictions on this issue. But those personal beliefs should never rob another from making their own decisions. To see that principle now lost in the United States feels like a loss for women everywhere.” (via Instagram)

David Clark

“I stand by my vote.”

Tamati Coffey

Did not respond.

Liz Craig

“My vote would remain the same.”

Clare Curran (no longer in parliament)

“I absolutely stand by my vote in the Abortion Legislation Act 2020. Until the legislation as passed, abortion was the only medical procedure that was still a crime in Aotearoa NZ.

“That bill modernised the laws on abortion, removing it from the Crimes Act and bringing it into line with many other developed countries. Sadly, the United States is taking the issue backwards. Safe abortion should be treated and regulated as a health issue, not a criminal issue. Every woman has the right to choose what happens to her body.”

Kelvin Davis

“I absolutely stand by my vote in 2020. I believe women should have the right to make decisions about their own bodies and nothing has changed for me in that regard.”

Ruth Dyson (no longer in parliament)

“I would vote the same… in favour of the reform”

Paul Eagle

Did not respond.

Kris Faafoi (MP until July 23)

Could not be contacted.

Peeni Henare

Did not respond.

Chris Hipkins

Did not respond.

Raymond Huo (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Willie Jackson

“Minister Jackson stands by his vote in 2020 and has no further comment to make.”

Iain Lees-Galloway (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Andrew Little

“Andrew Little was the then justice minister who shepherded thorough the Abortion Legislation Act 2020. This removed abortion from the Crimes Act and now means abortions in New Zealand are treated as a health issue. He is proud of his contribution to the Labour government’s achievement in reforming abortion law.”

Marja Lubeck

“I personally never thought that in 2022 we could see backwards moves like we have in the USA. And see a court granting fewer instead of more rights, eroding liberty, self-determination and personal autonomy. I’m glad we reformed abortion law to be part of health.”

Jo Luxton

Did not respond.

Trevor Mallard

“Yes. No. No.” (He stands by his vote, no further comment.)

Kieran McAnulty

“Minister McAnulty stands by his vote in the 2020 abortion law reform.”

Stuart Nash

Did not respond.

David Parker

Did not respond.

Willow-Jean Prime

“Yes, Willow-Jean stands by her vote in the 2020 abortion law reform.”

Priyanca Radhakrishnan

“I can confirm that Minister Radhakrishnan stands by her vote in 2020, and wouldn’t change it if voting today.”

Grant Robertson

“Grant would vote the way he did in 2020.”

Deborah Russell

“Yes Dr Russell stands by her vote.”

Carmel Sepuloni

“Minister Sepuloni stands by her vote, and would not vote differently today.”

William Sio

“Nothing has changed in my attitude to abortion.” 

Jan Tinetti

“Minister Tinetti stands by her vote in 2020 – supporting the decriminalisation of abortion.

“Furthermore she has the additional comment to make: access to free professional abortions is a basic human right as it is healthcare. Anyone who needs an abortion, for whatever reason, should be supported to access one. As a proud feminist I am steadfast in my view.”

Phil Twyford

“Yes, Phil does stand by his vote.”

Louisa Wall (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Angie Warren-Clark

“I voted yes – remove abortion from the Crimes Act­ on all stages of the bill. I would vote exactly the same and have not changed my mind or stance. 

“I believe abortion is a health issue, the right to have this medical procedure performed safely and treated as such should remain a fundamental right and choice for all women seeking it. 

“I am dismayed that in overturning Roe v Wade that the right to decide what is right for your own body has been (or is in the process of being) removed in conservative States in the US. This decision is a step back to a time where women’s rights were secondary and I feel a deep sense of unease and sadness for women in the USA.”

Duncan Webb

“Yes I stand by my vote.”

Poto Williams

Did not respond.

Michael Wood

Did not respond.

Megan Woods

“Yes, she stands by her 2020 vote and no, would not vote differently today.”

 

NATIONAL

Amy Adams (no longer in parliament)

“Yes I do stand by my previous vote completely.”

Paula Bennett (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

David Bennett

Did not respond.

Dan Bidois (no longer in parliament)

“No regrets from me and no further comment.”

Chris Bishop

Did not respond.

David Carter (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Judith Collins

Did not respond.

Matt Doocey

Did not respond.

Andrew Falloon (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Brett Hudson (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Nikki Kaye (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Barbara Kuriger 

“Barbara thanks you for making contact but won’t be responding.” A follow-up text mistakenly sent to The Spinoff by a spokesperson said: “World is going to hell in a handcart but this is the most important story of the week??!!!!! Gimme strength!” The spokesperson then followed up to apologise for the text, which she said was meant for a team member, adding: “It has been quite the topic of the week despite all the other challenges going on around the world and the comment was mine and mine alone.”

Mark Mitchell

Did not respond.

Scott Simpson

Did not respond.

Stuart Smith 

Did not respond.

Erica Stanford

Did not respond.

Anne Tolley (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Nicky Wagner (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Nicola Willis

Did not respond.

Jian Yang (no longer in parliament) 

Could not be contacted.

 

GREEN

Marama Davidson 

Via a spokesperson: “All of our MPs [Julie Anne Genter, Golriz Ghahraman, Gareth Huges, Jan Logie, Eugenie Sage, James Shaw and Chlöe Swarbrick at the time] stand by their vote in 2020 and none would vote differently today.” 

 

ACT

David Seymour 

“No change.”

 

NZ FIRST

Jenny Marcroft (no longer in parliament)

“Abortion was a conscience vote in the 52nd NZ parliament. I stand by my vote for the bill. It was a close vote, proving democracy needs constant attention. Luxon needs to clearly state his position.” (via Twitter)

Tracey Martin (no longer in parliament) 

Could not be contacted.

 

Jami-Lee Ross (independent, no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

 

Those who voted no to abortion law reform in 2020

LABOUR 

Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki

Did not respond but in an interview with The Spinoff earlier this year did not indicate her views had changed, and earlier this week told the Herald she continued to oppose abortion.

Nanaia Mahuta

Did not respond, but told Newshub: “Anyone that knows me knows I’ve had several miscarriages and I made a decision around my personal conscience. I am happy with that. I accept the democratic outcome of that vote.”

Damien O’Connor

Did not respond as he is travelling overseas on government business.

Greg O’Connor

Did not respond.

Adrian Rurawhe

Did not respond.

Jenny Salesa

Did not respond.

Jamie Strange

“Yes, I stand by my vote in 2020. Abortion is a very personal issue. In 1975 my 19-year-old pregnant mother was offered the opportunity by her GP to fly to Australia to have an abortion. However, her sister and workmate both assured her that if she had the baby, they would support her in raising this child. She consequently declined the offer of an abortion.

“On 25th June 1976 I entered this world. The support my mother was given by her sister and workmate meant I am here today, serving our country as a Member of Parliament. Abortion is a multifaceted, complex area, and I stand by my 2020 conscience vote on this issue.”

Rino Tirikatene

Did not respond, but stood by his vote earlier this week in an interview with the Herald.

Meka Whaitiri

Did not respond, but stood by her vote earlier this week in an interview with the Herald.

 

 

NATIONAL

Kanwaljit Sing Bakshi 

Did not respond.

Andrew Bayly

Did not respond.

Maggie Barry (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Simon Bridges (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Simeon Brown

Did not respond, but at the weekend “liked” his colleague Simon O’Connor’s Facebook post celebrating the overturning of Roe v Wade, before the post was deleted. He later apologised for the like and said he stood by the caucus position that National would not revisit the current laws if the party was elected.

Gerry Brownlee

Did not respond.

Jacqui Dean

Did not respond.

Sarah Dowie (no longer in parliament) 

Could not be contacted.

Paulo Garcia (no longer in parliament)

“As a lawyer, I recognise that since the Abortion Act 2020 has already come into force, that there is a responsibility to see to its enforcement as part of the law of the land. Yes, I do stand by my vote in the then 2020 abortion law reform bill. 

“I am pro-life. This does not mean I judge others with a contrary view in any negative way. I also believe that members of parliament are there to represent everyone, not just one specific group. To listen to and consider everyone’s point of view and to look to everyone’s well being which is also central to my Christian faith.”

Paul Goldsmith

Did not respond.

Nathan Guy (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Jo Hayes (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Harete Hipango

Did not respond.

Matt King (no longer in parliament or member of National, now leader of new party DemocracyNZ)

“DemocracyNZ takes the position of right to choose, it is one of our party’s fundamental values.” King was asked to clarify if this meant he would vote differently today, but did not respond.

Denise Lee (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Agnes Loheni (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted,

Melissa Lee

Did not respond.

Tim Macindoe (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Todd McClay

Did not respond.

Ian McKelvie

Did not respond.

Todd Muller

Did not respond.

Alfred Ngaro (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Simon O’Connor

Did not respond.

Parmjeet Parmar (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Chris Penk

Did not respond.

Maureen Pugh

Did not respond.

Shane Reti

Did not respond.

Alastair Scott (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Nick Smith (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Louise Upston

Did not respond.

Tim van de Molen 

Did not respond.

Hamish Walker (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Michael Woodhouse

Did not respond

Jonathan Young (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Lawrence Yule (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

 

NZ FIRST

Darroch Ball (no longer in parliament)

Did not respond.

Shane Jones (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Ron Mark (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Clayton Mitchell (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Mark Patterson (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Winston Peters (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

Fletcher Tabuteau (no longer in parliament)

Could not be contacted.

 

Current MPs who weren’t in parliament at the time to vote on the bill

We asked: “If the 2020 abortion law reform was up for vote today, how would you vote? And, do you have any further comments on this?”

 

LABOUR

Camilla Belich 

“I wasn’t an MP at the time it was voted on but, had I been, I would have been proud to vote for decriminalisation of abortion and removal of abortion from the Crimes Act. In my view, abortion is a health issue, not a criminal issue.”

Glen Bennet

Did not respond.

Rachel Boyack

“I would vote in favour of the legislation passed in 2020. Abortion is a health issue, not a criminal one, and I support the right for women to make choices that are best for them and their needs.”

Rachel Brooking 

“I would vote in favour of the 2020 law reform. My view is that abortion is a health issue and not a criminal issue.” 

Naisi Chen 

“Naisi would have voted in favour of the abortion law reform if she was in parliament at the time.”

Barbara Edmonds 

“I’d support the bill as I believe that abortion is a health issue not a criminal issue.” 

Shanan Halbert

Did not respond.

Emily Henderson

“I am pro-choice and would have voted for the act.”

Ingrid Leary

“I would vote to support the current NZ legislation. Abortion is a medical issue not a criminal one. If people don’t want abortions they shouldn’t have them. Same with same sex marriage. Criminalising abortion would be a massive step backwards for women’s rights and would particularly impact on those without the financial means to travel.

“The developments in the US show that we can never take women’s rights for granted, nor those of minority groups including our Rainbow whānau. It’s hard to fathom that this highly political and abhorrent development has occurred in the US this millennium. I am gravely concerned for the safety of women everywhere, especially in those countries which will follow the lead of the US and put the lives of millions of women in peril as they turn to dangerous, illegal terminations. We must all use our voices to condemn what has happened: women AND men.” 

Neru Leavasa

Did not respond.

Steph Lewis

Did not respond.

Anna Lorck

“I would vote to decriminalise – it is a health issue not a criminal one.”

Tracey McLellan

“I would vote YES. Abortion services are health issues and don’t belong in a Crimes Act.” 

Terisa Ngobi 

Did not respond.

Ibrahim Omer

Did not respond.

Sarah Pallett

“I would unequivocally vote YES to abortion law reform if it was up for vote today.

“The right to determine what happens to your own body is the most basic and fundamental of rights. The only person who should determine whether an abortion is the best choice for them is the person who is pregnant. The alternative to abortion is not, as frequently stated, adoption – but forced pregnancy.

“I would note that whilst this is an issue that primarily affects women, and is entirely appropriately seen as a woman’s issue, it does not exclusively affect women. Trans men and non-binary people can also become pregnant, and it is important that their rights are also upheld.

“I am a former midwife and midwifery lecturer, and remain a staunch advocate for the fundamental rights of women and pregnant people to make their own reproductive health choices.”

Angela Roberts 

“I would support the decriminalisation of abortion (it is very much a health issue) if a vote were held today.”

Gaurav Sharma 

Did not respond.

Lydia Sosene 

Did not respond.

Tangi Utikere 

“I would vote in favour.”

Vanushi Walters 

“I would vote in favour of decriminalisation. Abortion and access to abortion services are health issues not criminal issues”

“There are no borders when it comes to solidarity in this important space and as for me, this week I’ll be writing to those who are actively working to protect reproductive rights in the US to express my support for their work.

“Reproductive rights advocates have powerful research, practice and ethics-based voices and they belong at all levels of leadership including as doctors, on school boards, in community organisations, in our representative houses across the world and on the legal benches.

“To those advocating for safe reproductive healthcare rights in the US and in other countries where the right to healthcare is limited, kia kaha. There is much still to be done in this space and so many of us stand alongside you.”

Comments have been edited for length.

Helen White 

Did not respond.

Arena Williams 

“I would vote to decriminalise abortion and remove it from the Crimes Act. Access to abortion is a health issue.”

Ayesha Verrall 

Did not respond.

 

NATIONAL 

Christopher Luxon 

Via a spokesperson: “​​Thanks for the opportunity but as we have already stated National’s position is that parliament voted on these laws in 2019/20 and National has no plans to revisit them.”

Luxon confirmed this week his “personal pro-life stance” and issued this statement following the US Supreme Court decision:

“The complete removal of abortion law in the overturning of  Roe v Wade in the USA is distressing for many women everywhere and I empathise with them.

“Our situation in New Zealand is very different from that occurring in the USA – New Zealand’s abortion laws were debated in detail, voted on and ultimately settled in the last parliament during 2019/2020.

“I have been consistent since becoming leader that these laws will not be relitigated or revisited under a future National government, and these health services will remain fully funded.

“I understand how deeply held people’s views on abortion are. It’s important to me that women in New Zealand can have certainty that if I am elected prime minister these issues will not be put back on the table for further debate.”

Simon Watts 

Did not respond.

Sam Uffindell

Did not respond.

Penny Simmonds 

Did not respond.

Joseph Mooney 

Did not respond.

Nicola Grigg 

Did not respond.

 

GREEN

Teanau Tuiono 

Did not respond.

Ricardo Menendez March 

Did not respond.

Elizabeth Kerekere 

Did not respond.

 

ACT

Brooke van Velden 

“If the law was up for vote today, I would vote in favour. I strongly support a woman’s right to choose.”

Damien Smith

“I support a woman’s right to choose. I would support the bill.” 

Toni Severin 

“I would support the bill.” 

Nicole Mckee 

“Thanks for your email. I support a woman’s right to choose, I would support the bill.”

James McDowall

“I would happily support the bill.”

Simon Court 

“I would vote for it as I support a woman’s right to choose.”

Karen Chhour

“If I was asked  to vote on this I would vote in support of the bill. I support a woman’s right to choose.”

Mark Cameron
“I support a woman’s right to choose, I would support the bill.”

Chris Baillie

“I would support the bill.”

 

TE PĀTI MĀORI

Rawiri Waititi 

Via a spokesperson: “I can’t get hold of the co-leaders for comment before your deadline. But I can say we would vote in support of removing abortion from the Crimes Act.”

Debbie Ngarewa Packer 

As above.


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