ABORTION POLICY by 9Y26bR

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									                                                                                                                                             Niue



                                                        ABORTION POLICY

Grounds on which abortion is permitted:
                                                                                                                  *
      To save the life of the woman                                                                         Yes
                                                                                                                *
      To preserve physical health                                                                           Yes
                                                                                                                *
      To preserve mental health                                                                             Yes
      Rape or incest                                                                                        No
      Foetal impairment                                                                                     No
      Economic or social reasons                                                                            No
      Available on request                                                                                  No

Additional requirements:

      Not applicable
      *
       The abortion law of Niue is based on the abortion law of New Zealand before it was liberalized in 1977-1978. Under the law, abortions can be
performed only to save the life of the woman. It is probable that New Zealand case law, which, before the liberalization of New Zealand’s abortion law,
followed the Rex v. Bourne decision and allowed abortion to be performed on physical and mental health grounds, is applicable in Niue.




                                      REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CONTEXT
Government view on fertility level:                                                                         Too low

Government intervention concerning fertility level:                                                         To raise

Government policy on contraceptive use:                                                                     Indirect support provided

Percentage of currently married women using
    modern contraception (aged 15-49):                                                                      ..

Total fertility rate (1995-2000):                                                                           ..

Age-specific fertility rate (per 1,000 women aged 15-19, 1995-2000):                                        ..

Government has expressed particular concern about:
   Morbidity and mortality resulting from induced abortion                                                  ..
   Complications of childbearing and childbirth                                                             ..

Maternal mortality ratio (per 100,000 live births, 1990):
    National                                                                                                ..
    Oceania                                                                                                 680

Female life expectancy at birth (1995-2000):                                                                ..



      Source: Population Policy Data Bank maintained by the Population Division of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs of the
United Nations Secretariat. For additional sources, see list of references.
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Niue

                                                         BACKGROUND

    Niue is a self-governing nation of 2,500 people in free association with its former colonial ruler New
Zealand. The status of the law on abortion in Niue is not entirely clear. The country’s criminal law is contained
in Part V of the Niue Act 1966, which is the principal New Zealand statute that established the substantive
rules of law for Niue. This criminal law is based on that of the Cook Islands Act 1915, which itself is related to
the Criminal Code of New Zealand. Under the Niue Act of 1966, the act of procuring the miscarriage of a
woman or girl and the act of a woman or girl procuring her own miscarriage are both prohibited if done
unlawfully. The penalty in the first case is up to two years’ imprisonment and in the second, up to one year’s
imprisonment. Anyone who unlawfully supplies or procures the means of miscarriage knowing that it is
intended to be unlawfully used to procure a miscarriage is subject to up to two years’ imprisonment.

    The law sets forth no express exceptions to a general prohibition on the performance of abortions.
However, as is the case with many laws that derive from the English Offences against the Person Act of 1861,
the use in the law of the word “unlawfully” implies that some abortions are, in fact lawful. Although there has
been no such court decision in the country interpreting the scope of abortions considered not unlawful, the
Niue Act 1966 offers some guidance in this area. In a section labeled “Defences,” it provides that all rules and
principles of the common law which render any circumstance a justification or excuse for any act or omission
or a defence to any charge shall remain in force. This language implies that a defence of necessity would most
likely be allowed in the case of an abortion performed to save the life of a pregnant woman. The question
remaining is whether a court would allow the defence sanctioned by the Rex v. Bourne decision in cases of a
threat to physical or mental health. Given that Niue was under the colonial rule of New Zealand and is still
linked to that country in a state of free association, it seems likely, but by no means certain, that such a defence
would be allowed. This is particularly likely since a New Zealand court gave application to the holding of Rex
v. Bourne in New Zealand (Rex. v. Woolnough, 1977) before the enactment of New Zealand’s liberalized law
in 1977-1978.

    Reliable statistics are not readily available on abortion in Niue.




      Source: Population Policy Data Bank maintained by the Population Division of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs of the
United Nations Secretariat. For additional sources, see list of references.

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