Recently the calls for decriminalising abortion have begun to get a little louder, however the reforming of New Zealand’s abortion law is nothing new. For quite some time now there have been rumblings from pro-abortion organisations to make abortion more easily accessible to women and to remove any reference of abortion from the Crimes Act. The most recent discussion of abortion reform has been by Young Labour who are making it an issue for the 2014 elections.
The following are 5 important facts to keep in mind regarding the reform of abortion in New Zealand:
1. The main organisations pushing for reform are Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ), Family Planning, Young Labour, and the Women’s Health Council.
In 2010 a “Road Map to Abortion Law Reform” was published, in which pro-abortion groups mapped out a way forward for women to gain even easier access to abortion in New Zealand. ALRANZ is currently running a campaign entitled “Pro-Choice Highway” where they are taking their decriminalisation message on the road throughout the country. The plan is to make the decriminalisation of abortion an election issue, hoping that the liberal politicians will be able to push legislation through, much as they have with same-sex “marriage”. Note that there are other organisations that are also part of the large web of pro-abortion organisations pushing for reform.
2. New Zealand’s abortion law is held in two Acts of Parliament – the Crimes Act 1961 and the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977.
The Crimes Act explains that it is unlawful to procure a miscarriage unless the following conditions are met in a pregnancy not exceeding 20 weeks gestation:
- serious danger to the woman’s life, physical or mental health (which has to be over and above what would be considered normal for childbirth);
- physical or intellectual disability;
- where the woman has a significant impairment;
- the age of the woman or girl can also be taken into account, as can sexual violation, although these are not grounds for abortion in themselves.
Abortions can also be carried out post 20 weeks when it is believed that it is necessary to save the life of the mother or “to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health.”
The Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act deals mostly with administration, however, it does set out that a woman must see two certifying consultants who verify that she meets the above criteria before she can have the abortion. In New Zealand in 2010, 98% of abortions were done under the grounds of “danger to mental health”. In practice New Zealand has abortion on demand.
3. In calling for decriminalisation of abortion, proponents want to see abortion available to all women for any reason for all 9 months of pregnancy.
This means any one will be able to turn up to an abortion clinic for any reason, at any stage of their pregnancy, and request an abortion. Certifying Consultants will be a thing of the past (apparently cutting costs to the tax payer). By decriminalising abortion, advocates will make abortion more dangerous, leaving the door wide open for abuse. Will New Zealand see its own Gosnell? It does not bear thinking about.
4. It is claimed that decriminalising abortion will remove the stigma.
According to abortion advocates there is a social stigma associated with having an abortion. However, most women don’t even know that New Zealand’s abortion law is in the Crimes Act. Women cannot be prosecuted for having an abortion, it is only the abortionists that have a penalty if they break law (although the law is not enforced, even with wide-spread illegal abortions). The real stigma and shame from abortion comes from the woman herself as she realises instinctively that what she is about to do is wrong.
5. Family Planning have a vested interest in decriminalising abortion.
They already have a license to administer early medical abortions in their Tauranga clinic. There will be more clinics to come. With each abortion, more cash changes hands between themselves and the government. Family Planning also needs ready access to abortion as contraception fails, and Family Planning invest a lot of their time and money into promoting contraception, especially among youth. Almost 50% of abortions in 2010 were performed on women who had used some form of contraception that had failed.
While many people involved in the campaign to decriminalise abortion most likely have compassion for women, it is misguided compassion. Abortion does women more harm than good. Many, many women, even decades later, have a deep wound in their hearts caused by a ‘procedure’ that was supposed to empower them.
A fully human community shows compassion, not by offering a quick fix for the moment, but embraces the woman in her greatest hour of need. A truly compassionate society offers support, friendship and guidance, so that even if all the problems on her shoulders are not solved at that time, she can see her way forward.
A fully human community does not ask of its women to kill their children because it as society will not take the time to care, to love and to hope.
Decriminalising abortion in New Zealand is only going to serve to increase abortions as women feel abandoned in their greatest hour of need.
Instead, let us make abortion rare in New Zealand. Let us stand together. Let us be of service to the pregnant woman facing a crisis in her life. Let us be a true community filled with compassion. Let us love.