Recently, Alison McCulloch of the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRANZ) gave an interview on radio’s National Programme. In it, she explains her position on abortion and how she would like to see the New Zealand laws around abortion access reformed.
Currently in New Zealand, abortion legislation is in two seperate Acts: The Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act, and the Crimes Act.
There has been a growing call from both ALRANZ and Family Planning to reform the abortion law, taking away restrictions and taking it out of the Crimes Act.
Alison explains her understanding of what the access to abortion is like in New Zealand by saying:
the anti-abortion side thinks we have abortion on demand. I think we have pretty good abortion access. Also I tend to agree with them. We would like to see it brought into line with practise. The law brought into line with practise.
When asked by the interviewer, Kim Hill if we have abortion on demand, Alison responded by saying “We have something like it.”
So if New Zealand has something that resembles abortion on demand, why does the law need to be reformed at all in the way Alison suggests? Women are getting access to abortions without too much trouble, despite the law. Yes, they have to see two certifying consultants, who will confirm that they are eligible to have an abortion. But often these consultants are seen on the same day, in the same place. Sometimes women need to travel to see the consultant. Sometimes women need to wait. But surely waiting is a good thing in this instance? Making decisions quickly can mean the wrong decisions are made.
Even so, Alison wants to see abortion decriminalised. She wants to see what she calls the “stigma” and “shaming” of abortion removed. She wants women to be able to go to clinics and their local GP. She even suggests that a nurse practioner could administer medical abortion.
On a personal note Alison believes in abortion for the full nine months.
I like the idea of what they have done in Victoria which is women’s right up until the 24th week and then you need to, in consultation with some physicians. But out of the Crimes Act… It’s a really complicated procedure at that point. So you really need medical go along.
And how does she come to the conclusion that abortion should be able to accessed even after the 24th week? How does she justify this position when tiny babies are struggling for their lives in NICU at 24 weeks, and sometimes even before? Alison says:
The woman is the one who attributes to the fetus its status, the value that the fetus has. And she makes the decision about that fetus.
She then went on to say later in the interview:
I know that there’s this continuum that people want to focus on with respect to the fetus and ignore the location of the fetus, but that is the all important point.
So for Alison, the location of the child is what makes it all right to inflict death upon him or her.
Finally, Alison voices her concerns about saying that life begins at conception. Concerns about something which of course a scientific fact. Pro-abortionists can cover-up this truth all they like, but the truth remains that at the moment of conception a new, unrepeatable human being is created, who needs time to grow and develop and have the nurturing comfort of his or her mother’s womb in order to do that. Yet, Alison, (as do so many other people who believe in “choice”), chooses to ignore this fact in order to defend her position that abortion should be legal and easily accessible for every woman. Alison says in the interview:
If you go down the road that the questioner would go down and then you say the fetus is a person that would then make it murder. What comes with that? What comes with you are a person at the moment of conception? That is pretty scary.
Why is it scary? Because acknowledging the scientific fact that human life, and begins at conception means that we, as a society, could not condone abortion any more. Instead the newly conceived human being, who is a person, would be protected in law. In acknowledging this fact, society could not inflict the worse kind of child abuse on our unborn children. For our law to acknowledge that life begins at conception would mean that we as a society would need to step up and support women who find themselves facing an unplanned, difficult or crisis pregnancy. We would need to step up and show women real love. For society to acknowledge the personhood of the unborn child from the moment of conception, would mean a more humane, a more civilised and a more stable community which would find its true humanity in the service and protection of all.