Radical Abortion Law Reform Is Deeply Anti-Human Rights

Media Release 4 August 2019
Family First NZ is shocked and dismayed with the Government’s coming release tomorrow of attempts to radically liberalise abortion laws, and says it is deeply anti-human rights.

“The focus of this proposed abortion policy shift is entirely on women having a right to an abortion, but completely ignores both the status of the unborn child, and the wellbeing of the mother,” says Gina Sunderland, spokesperson for Family First NZ.

“Under the current law, an unborn child is at least afforded some recognition and minimal legal protection. In contrast, these proposals will give the unborn child the same status as an appendix, tonsils or gall bladder – simply tissue removed as part of a ‘health procedure’.”

“The proposed policy means that unborn children older than 20-weeks gestation are no longer protected in any way at all. It is simply an agreement between the mother and the abortion provider. That is quite shocking.”

The proposed law would also make late-term abortions considerably more accessible, rather than for exceptional circumstances as currently required under the Crimes Act. A baby could be aborted after 20-weeks as long as the health practitioner who intends to perform the abortion considered that the abortion was ‘appropriate in the circumstances’.

Currently the Crimes Act allows for an abortion after 20 weeks gestation only if it is necessary to save the life of the woman or prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health. Official Information Act statistics show that 800 late term abortions have been performed over the last 10 years where there is no danger to the physical health or life of the mother.

While polling shows general support for abortion from about half of NZers, the independent polling in January also found strong support for the unborn child having human rights and being legally protected once a heartbeat is detected (which can be between 6–12 weeks), and only a small minority thinking that life doesn’t begin until the child is born. Women are far more likely than men to say that life begins at conception.

“The abortion statistics published by Stats NZ last week clearly proves that we have abortion on demand in New Zealand. While radical abortion groups want more liberal time limits, polling at the beginning of last year found that only 4% of New Zealanders want more liberal time limits for abortion. The vast majority of New Zealanders also showed strong support for a restrictive legal framework for accessing abortions. This is in stark contrast to calls by groups like Family Planning, ALRANZ and the National Council of Women who are promoting the Law Commission’s Model A which allows abortion for any reason up to birth.”

“The real question we should be debating is at what point does the unborn child become a human being deserving of the same human rights and protections that we all receive and enjoy,” says Mrs Sunderland.

Family First will be mounting a strong campaign to prevent any removal of the human rights of the unborn child and which reduces the wellbeing of pregnant women.

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