COMMENT

In 1977, a little-known piece of legislation called the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act came into effect. It set out a narrow and restrictive framework under which New Zealand women could obtain an abortion. It followed a Royal Commission and was intended to be conservative and obstructive; doctors were so scared of prosecution that an estimated 4000 to 4500 women had to fly to Australia to access abortion services over the two years following the act's implementation.

Of course, in time the legislation backfired on the conservative anti-abortion movement. In one sense, in the long term, the act was

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