Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has defended her decision to weigh into the international debate over abortion rights in the wake of Roe v Wade being overturned by the US Supreme Court, telling a group of Spanish students in Madrid that "no one's religious belief should impose on another the ability or inability".
Roe v Wade created a constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The overturning of the decision means that states will now set their own abortion laws, many of which will make the procedure effectively impossible to obtain.
Ardern released a brief statement on social media after the decision was announced.
When asked about that statement, Ardern acknowledged that it was standard for leaders to stay out of domestic political issues in other nations, however, she said Roe v Wade went beyond being a domestic issue for the United States.
"One of the principles of foreign policy… is that you don't comment on the domestic politics of other nations.
"Abortion policy is not the domestic politics of another nation, it is a basic human right for women," Ardern said.
"That is why it is a subject matter on which I feel I can express myself freely," she said.
She said her statement allowed her to "externalise" how she "felt on the inside - not all of which I felt I could freely express.
"It is very emotive this debate and for women it is particularly difficult to watch," she said.
Ardern was not the only world leader to weigh in on the decision, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron also made remarks about Roe v Wade.
Ardern said people were entitled to "freely hold their own beliefs, be they religious or otherwise".
However, "no one's religious belief should impose on another the ability or inability to access healthcare or make decisions over their own bodies".
Ardern said this was a principle that led her to reform New Zealand's abortion laws in the last Parliament, decriminalising abortion and setting up a new legal regime.
She said this regime moved in the direction of a legal regime "based on health" and "a woman's right to choose".
She added this was why "as a woman," she would "be an advocate" for the principle of a woman's right to choose "on the global stage as well".
Ardern is in Madrid attending the Nato leader summit on her European tour.
America's domestic dispute over Roe v Wade has spilled into New Zealand's domestic politics, with National forced to repeatedly promise that it would not alter Ardern's abortion reforms if it were in office.
This is despite the fact that a majority of National's caucus in the last Parliament voted against the reforms, and the fact that leader Christopher Luxon is personally opposed to abortion. He forced MP Simon O'Connor to delete a Facebook post praising the Supreme Court's decision, saying it was distressing to women.