The following is Family Life International NZ’s comments regarding abortion law reform in New Zealand and the impact abortion has on women and children.
Our organisation, Family Life International NZ, works to serve women who are pregnant and whose life circumstances mean that they are reluctant to welcome and celebrate the new life they carry within them. We do this through our Gianna’s Choice Centres, where women can learn about their pregnancy options and are given support and encouragement during a difficult moment in their life. Over the last 25 years, we have assisted a significant number of women who were initially considering abortion but ultimately decided to choose life for their pre-born child.
We also work with women who have experienced abortion. In doing so, it is possible to grasp the significant impact abortion has on women – both in the short and long-term – and how decision making and relationships, both current and in the future, are impacted.
We firmly believe that abortion is not health care, but rather an act of violence that harms women physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, and which kills her pre-born child.
Pregnant women and their pre-born children need access to excellent maternity care that acknowledges the humanity, and therefore the need for care and respect, of both mother and pre-born child. In a high-risk pregnancy, it is both patients – mother and baby – whose lives must be taken into account in any treatment plan.
Directly terminating the life of one can never be considered health care.
Professor Liley, a medical practitioner from New Zealand who pioneered the foetal blood transfusion procedure for those with Rh incompatibility, always understood the unique dignity of every human life, especially the young, still growing and developing in their mother’s womb. Because of him, a vast number of pre-born babies have been given the opportunity to survive and thrive.
This procedure was the beginning of intrauterine surgery, which acknowledged the humanity and the right to health care of those not yet born, but very much alive. Today, so many more treatments are possible. For example bladder and chest shunts, cardiac interventions, tumour removals and other procedures are offered to enhance the outcome of children in the womb.
Each of these medical procedures acknowledge the humanity and dignity of the pre-born patient and should be considered health care.
Yet what is proposed here by turning abortion into a health issue? What are the so-called health care “treatments” that those in favour of this move want pregnant mothers to have greater access?
When we speak of abortion, we are discussing the termination of a human life – a human life with his or her own DNA and blood type. By 21 days this little human being has a heart beat. There is no question that what is growing in the women’s womb is anything but human. Birth, if he or she is given the chance, will be but one of many significant milestones in his or her life, a life that begun well before that day we all mark every year.
Medical abortion involves giving the mother a drug which destroys her ability to carry the child by primarily depriving her of the hormone progesterone which is needed for pregnancy to continue. This separates the placenta from the lining of the wall of the uterus starving the human embryo of foetus of nutrients and oxygen.
The surgical procedures – Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA) and Dilation and Curettage (D&C) involve the gruesome sucking of the uterine contents out of the womb. A tiny pre-born child will be sucked out whole, however those who are larger will be torn apart.
In a Dilation and Evacuation (D&E) procedure, the preborn child is pulled out limb-by-limb and his or her head is crushed.
Feticide involves injecting the little one with a drug which will stop his or her heart and then delivering the child stillborn.
How are these “treatments” humane?
Would we as a society tolerate these procedures if they were applied to babies and children already born? Of course not. There would be a public outcry, and rightly so.
What the Labour government is attempting to do is an impossibility. Honest health care does not disregard the humanity of a patient, and his or her right to life, nor does it put such social mores like “choice” ahead of truth.
These procedures are not treatments. They are designed to kill the pre-born child, some in the most gruesome of manners. Contrast this brutality with the care and concern of Professor Liley and those who work to preserve life within the womb.
Abortion harms women too. There is significant research, including from Professor Fergusson from Otago University, that recognises that abortion impacts women psychologically and increases her risks of mental health issues, suicide and substance abuse. We certainly see this in our Centres with the women that we assist who have experienced abortion.
There are also physical risks to women’s health, some very significant such as haemorrhage, perforation of the uterus and future infertility. Ongoing, women are at increased risk of breast cancer due to the unnatural interruption of hormones to the breast tissue.
Abortion is bad medicine. Women and children deserve better. Excellent maternal health care, acknowledging the humanity and dignity of both mother and pre-born child is what is required. Our medical practitioners must use their skill to heal to the best of their ability, not to kill.
We urge you to consider both mother and baby in your report to the Government. Please acknowledge the cruelty involved in abortion and the impact it has on women, not just at the time of the abortion, but for decades into the future.
Abortion is in the Crimes Act because it is a crime. Please let us keep it there and do everything we can in the law to protect these little ones and their mothers from the horror of abortion.