This month’s Ace Ladies event was powerful.

We looked at why abortion must get out of the Crimes Act and into the Health Act. We spent an evening with Dame Margaret Sparrow, supreme Ace Lady, specialist sexual health physician and pioneer figure in NZ women’s struggle with reproductive rights for over 32 years. Dame Margaret was joined in conversation by Terry Bellamak, National President of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) and Amy Pearl, Chair of The Weaving House — a trust dedicated to gender equality.

Listen to this event’s live podcast episode here.

We’d like to sincerely thank Dame Margaret, Terry and Amy for being a part of this event and bringing your insights to the table. It was an empowering night, reminding us to never stop fighting for our bodily autonomy. During the evening, our panelists mentioned a lot of essential reading and viewing material.

Here is a reading list of books and references discussed in the conversation, including a link to purchase Dame Margaret’s newest book.


Click above to purchase Risking Their Lives: New Zealand Abortion Stories 1900–1939 by Dame Margaret Sparrow.

Click above to purchase Abortion Then and Now: New Zealand Abortion Stories from 1940–1980 by Dame Margaret Sparrow.

Click above to purchase Fighting to Choose: The Abortion Rights Struggle in New Zealand by Alison McCulloch.

Click above to purchase Fighting to Choose: The Abortion Rights Struggle in New Zealand by Alison McCulloch.

Click above to purchase Ettie Rout: New Zealand’s Safer Sex Pioneer by Jane Tolerton.


This video of Alison McCulloch, speaking at the launch of her book Fighting to Choose: The Abortion Rights Struggle in New Zealand and reading an abridged excerpt.

More reading collected by the Weaving House.

1.16 reasons the abortion law needs to be changed, by veteran reproductive rights campaigner Dame Margaret Sparrow

2. Q+A: Current abortion law and proposed changes

3. Calls for ‘complex’ abortion laws to be overhauled: ‘It’s bizarre that abortion is still under the Crimes Act’

4. Abortion law-change would come down to conscience vote — Jacinda Ardern

5. Ardern Abortion ‘shouldn’t be in the crimes act’

6. Ardern’s pledge to decriminalise abortion sparks controversy

7. The Pitch: Where the candidates stand on abortion legalisation

8. New Zealand election: Jacinda Ardern pledges to decriminalise abortion

9. Kelston candidates share their views on euthanasia and abortion

10. Te Atatu candidates speak on abortion and euthanasia

11. ‘Safeguards’: Upper Harbour candidates on abortion, euthanasia

12. Abortion goes against my conscience, says National’s New Lynn candidate

13. Surely it’s time for a grown-up conversation about abortion?

14. Anti-abortion club not welcome at Auckland University

15. A right to choose: Helensville candidates on abortion and euthanasia

16. Hundreds of Kiwi women told their abortions were ‘not justified’

17. The Big Read: Real stories of women who’ve had an abortion in New Zealand

18. Is it time for abortion law reform?

19. Abortion rate drops to lowest in 25 years

20. Michelle Duff: What do NZ’s female politicians think about abortion?

21. Updating the abortion law is a women’s rights issue

22. Four women talk about their experiences of getting an abortion in New Zealand

23. How working in an abortion clinic changed my mind about terminations

24. Political Roundup: The uncomfortable abortion reform challenge

25. Terry Bellamak: Abortion does not belong in the Crimes Act

26. More than half NZers back legalising abortion — survey

27. Prime Minister Bill English won’t ‘liberalise’ abortion law

28. Justice Minister Amy Adams rejects calls for abortion reform

29. Govt accused of mixed messages on abortion

30. Verity Johnson: I’m embarrassed NZ’s abortion laws are so archaic

31. Positive: A mother’s abortion story

32. Dunedin doctor champions ‘controversial’ abortion stance

33. Stare-off on Dominion Rd: anti-abortion vs pro-choice at Auckland’s 40 Days for Life vigil

34. Breaking the taboo on abortion

35. Little hope for change with English’s abortion stance — lobby group

36. Abortion report to Parliament committee as Labour criticises Bill English’s ‘deep conservatism’

37. Not updating abortion law ‘an indictment’, supervising committee tells MPs

38. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman’s abortion stance ‘contradictory’: Andrew Little

39. Hot Potato: Why are our MPs so reluctant to talk about abortion law reform?

40. US abortion gag endangers Pacific women

41. Watch: Kiwi women seeking abortions ‘have to basically lie and say they’re mentally ill’

42. Call to ban Thames anti-abortion protests