For the second time in a month New Zealand stands at the crossroad of life and death as the Government legislative committee approves a draft abortion bill. Just weeks ago, the House voted for a second time in favour of the End of Life Choice Bill.
Pro-abortion organisations such as Family Planning and the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) have been agitating for change for some years. The noise has become louder and their efforts have gained traction with liberal MPs who empathise with their inhumane and unjust position.
Abortion Law Reform Process
The goal of the reform is to remove abortion legislation from the Crimes Act and treat the procedure – which always ends the life of an innocent living human being – as simply a health issue to be decided between a woman and her doctor.
These are the next steps:
- Legislative Committee signs off the draft legislation.
- Cabinet is presented with the draft legislation. Discussions will take place and the Bill will be signed off. This could happen as early as Monday 29 July.
- The Bill is presented to the House where it will be debated. As it is a Government Bill more time will be dedicated to its discussion. It is understood the Bill, if enough votes are received in its favour, could pass within six months.
Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has stated that for Labour MPs, the vote will be one of conscience. The same can be said for National.
What can we expect in the draft abortion legislation?
Andrew Little, Justice Minister, approached the Law Commission for advice on how to go about achieving the above goal soon after Labour was granted leadership. Late last year, the Law Commission presented a report which included three possible models. These models allowed for
- Abortion on demand up to birth with no exceptions.
- Abortion up to birth with a statutory test to consider the mental and physical health of the woman.
- Abortion on demand up to 22 weeks. After 22 weeks abortion until birth with a statutory test to consider the mental and physical health of the woman.
Andrew Little has been clear that he favours the third option which is a combination of the first two proposals. This is what we are likely to see in the proposed law.
New Zealand First, Labour’s coalition partner, take a slightly more cautious stance on the abortion issue, although still support a change. Their party line is that abortion must be “safe, legal and rare”.
As former Planned Parenthood Director and pro-life advocate Abby Johnson has so eloquently stated, “abortion can never be safe. Any procedure where “success” means the killing of another human being can certainly not be safe.”
The current law in New Zealand
Abortion is lawful throughout all nine months of pregnancy when two certifying consultants agree that particular circumstances exist. These circumstances which include incest and disability, depend on which side of 20 weeks the pregnancy falls.
The Crimes Act explains when abortion is lawful and when it is not, while the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act regulates the actual practice. The Care of Children Act removes the need for a girl under 16 to obtain the permission of her parent(s) or guardian(s) when seeking an abortion.
It is not a crime for a woman to obtain an abortion. The Crimes Act is designed to protect women from those who would exploit the situation or unlawfully carry out an abortion.
Reason to hope
Women, children, families and society suffer greatly when abortion is legalised.
In Scripture we are reminded that keeping God’s commandments bring us life, going against those commandments leads to death. As New Zealand stands at the crossroad these words from Deuteronomy trumpet a warning for our nation:
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live…” Deuteronomy 30:19
But there is hope.
The pro-abortion agitators could only muster 200 people to march for reform in Wellington yesterday. Last December, more than 1200 concerned New Zealander’s who love life joyfully marched through the streets of Wellington for the second National March for Life.
It will take each one of us to be courageous proclaimers and living witnesses of truth.
Science is on the side of life. Truth is on the side of life. Reason is on the side of life.
Justice demands that the most vulnerable among us, pre-born babies, have their inherent right to life upheld. Without that we fall.