Dr Reti affirms anti-abortion stance as Nats health spokesperson, says law change not on cards

Māori MPs have reacted to the US Supreme Court overturning the 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision, removing the federal protection of abortion rights.

While the majority voiced their opposition to the US court ruling, some including National's Health Spokesperson Dr Shane Reti, took the opportunity to reaffirm his stance as 'pro-life'.

Associate Health Minister and Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare was one who has voiced disapproval on the US decision.

"E tautoko ana au i ngā kōrero a te Pirimia me te mana o te wāhine. Koina tāku i whakaae ki roto i ngā tau kua pahure ake nei mō ngā ture i whakaritehia e mātou," he says.
(I disagree with what the government in the USA is doing. I back what our Prime Minister said on the matter, and I support the rights of women. That is why in recent years I supported the legislation our party put through the House.)

The ruling in the US has reignited the discussion over abortion in Aotearoa, which was decriminalised in 2020 under the Abortion Legislation Act. But the voting record of MPs on that act has also come under the spotlight in recent days.

Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene voted against the legislation, citing personal experience as the reason he supports women’s rights to choose for themselves.

“My mum was advised by her doctor to have an abortion when she was carrying me. It’s a very personal issue. I’m pleased my mother made her health decision. Here we are today.”

Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri supports abortion being a health issue but voted against the bill on cultural grounds, after talking it over with her electorate.

“I met Māori women in my electorate. It’s not so much opposing it as being a health issue. I totally get it. For me, it’s a cultural issue around whakapapa, around keeping the number of Māori alive, and also the practice of aborting children wasn’t well understood in Māori circles.”

Greens co-leader, and Minister for Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, Marama Davidson said she is disappointed with the decision from the US but remains resolute in her support for abortion rights.

"Mai i te timatanga ka tū kaha ngā Kākāriki, ka tū kaha ahau hei wahine Māori ki te tautoko i te mana motuhake o ngā tangata, ngā whānau, o ngā wāhine e whai ana i te termination."
(From the beginning the Greens, and myself as a wahine Māori have been unwavering supporters of people, families and women who seek termination.)

Despite remaining ‘pro-life’, national health spokesperson, Shane Reti reaffirmed the National caucus commitment that the law won’t be changed under a National government.


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