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Abortion in New Zealand in 1937

Well, in 1937, it was illegal in New Zealand.

Apparently I've forgotten that I've had the McMillan Report, or 1937's Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Various Aspects of the Problem of Abortion in New Zealand, available in scanned form for some time now. Having forgotten to send it through PG DP, it's now on my queue of things to send through. (Note: I'm guessing given the topic, some discretion would probably be advised with regards to reading the report.)

To sum up the report, the committee concludes that economic issues, unmarried mothers, 'fears of childbirth' and 'changes in social and moral outlook' (page 26).

As to solutions, it suggests that 'full publicity' should be made of the facts laid out in the inquiry (page 28).

It suggests that with regards to contraceptives, that for the 'problem of the unmarried mother' things might be resolved by banning the sale of them to 'the young' (page 27). This is an interesting mirror of the Mazengarb Report's conclusions 17 years later, following the start of the post-war baby boom.

Whether you think abortion is an abomination (or a mortal sin, perhaps), et cetera, or that it's a case of a woman's choice, or any view along the continuum, really, reading a report like this is conjunction with others makes interesting reading in charting the change in social attitudes over time. It helps knowing the past, methinks.

This adds on to the list of reports that I've scanned that I want to write a review of and or write an expanded analysis of. Anyone else want to try before I find the time? I don't mind if I'm beaten to it, though I'll try to find the time to write one of my own either way. Let me know if you want to -- I'd favourably consider linking to it.


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