Our organisation which educates on life issues and serves pregnant women and their families is opposed to the Abortion Legislation Bill in its entirety.
The premise of the Bill is that abortion is necessary health care for a woman. However, pregnancy is a natural state for a woman and our reproductive systems are designed to carry a child and nurture it both before and after birth. Pregnancy involves two distinct human lives – that of the mother and that of the unborn child. Both deserve excellent care because each are human beings with an inherent dignity that must be respected.
The Bill talks about informed consent. Will every teenage girl or woman be given the facts about the development of her unborn child and the reality of the procedure that she will undergo to destroy his or her life? Will she be told the very real negative possible outcomes for her, both immediately and in the future? Physical, psychological and spiritual? All which are well documented, some of which is referenced in our written submission. Even if they weren’t there are enough post-abortive women willing to share their stories to know that abortion is harmful.
Let’s face the facts. Induced abortion is the direct and intentional destruction of an innocent human embryo or fetus – a latin word meaning young one – a human life completely distinct from his or her mother, with its own DNA and a beating heart from 21 days, before most women even know they are pregnant. This heart that pumps around his or her tiny body blood which in many cases is of a different type to the mother.
Surgical abortion methods are brutal violence upon a tiny one that is defenceless. A suction machine is used to suck a tiny living body from its mothers womb. Ultrasound of abortions show the tiny fetus trying to get away from the suction tube. A lump of cells doesn’t do that. Humans do. When the unborn child becomes too large to be sucked out alone, forceps are used to crush his or her head and then tear the body apart limb by limb – an arm, a leg… Pieces that need to be gathered and put back together again to ensure that nothing of what was a living human being is left inside of the woman.
Medical abortions are no less cruel. They deprive the unborn child of nutrients, causing their demise. Feticide, requires a lethal injection of ( …) to the unborn child’s heart to ensure that he or she is not born alive.
We wouldn’t tolerate this kind of behaviour on newborn babies. Why tolerate it in the hours, weeks and months before birth?
I don’t take any pleasure what so ever in sharing these grisly details. I certainly don’t do so in order to condemn women who have had an abortion experience. They made the best decision in they could given the information they had at the time. Many now suffer. But the reality is abortion is not some abstract medical procedure. It certainly is not healthcare. Abortion is violent. Abortion is gruesome.
These are our children. They are us. The Crimes Act recognises to a limited degree that this is true. The premise of this Act is that the unborn child is worthy of protection and offers exceptions to this rule.
So how do we balance out the reality that a pregnancy involves two people? Both lives are important. Both lives deserve to be treated with the dignity and respect that is theirs.
In our experience, (evidence?) women choose abortion because they believe they have no other choice.
Many women who come to our Gianna’s Choice Pregnancy Options and Support service are vulnerable. Because of their particular life circumstances, they may be ambivalent about being pregnant. They likely have dreams to fulfil. They may be scared of the reactions of family members, to their pregnancy afraid of bringing shame upon their family. There may be pressure from parents or a husband or boyfriend to abort their unborn child. Some have been excitedly awaiting the birth of their child, only to be told that their precious baby has a disability or medical condition that is life-limiting.
We listen to her. No two women have the same story. We present them with her pregnancy options. If she is interested in exploring Real concrete solutions that might help her see a way forward in her particular circumstance. There is no one size fits all solution.
It may be that she needs someone to help her tell her parents that she is pregnant. Or, maybe for a non-resident the cost of an abortion is going to be cheaper than giving birth. Maybe mum is experiencing serious morning sickness and just needs some help in the home. Or, for the family that has been told their unborn child has Down syndrome for instance, they want quiet support as they face relentless pressure from medical staff to abort. All of these are real situations we have encountered over the years.
These are real options – solutions that empower women and allow her to be all that she has been created to be. Abortion infantilises women by telling them they have one solution to their problem and that they are not strong enough to follow their dreams and be a mum. Abortion says we women can’t have it all. Abortion says that we as women have to follow the wishes of others.
Not one woman has ever regretted having her baby. Yet, we have had many, many women come to us who have regretted their abortion. (7 ½ minutes)
True informed consent includes knowing what other options are available, practical down-to-earth solutions to the difficulties being faced right now.
We have been approached on a number of occasions by women who have ingested the first tablet mifepristone for an early medical abortion, and then realised her mistake, wanting to save her baby. It is possible to reverse the effects of this medication if a progesterone is started within 72 hours of ingestion of the first tablet. More than 750 lives have been saved since 2012 because of this intervention. In the interests of informed consent and offering true choice and options to the women, will this reversal be made available to women who change their minds? Will knowledge of the possibility of this be shared before any tablets are given?
We would also like to address the proposal for so-called “safe areas” around abortion facilities in the community. Our organisation facilitates peaceful, prayerful vigils throughout the year, predominantly in Auckland and in Wellington. We keep vigil. We pray. We are not protesting and we very rarely approach anyone. Small groups of two or three people – maybe a few more at times – gather during office hours. Larger groups only ever gather in the weekends or evenings when the facility is closed. In Auckland we stand on the opposite side of the road. Many people in the community are glad that we are there. They do not like having an abortion facility in their backyard. We have conversations with members of the public who wish to engage with us. We do not engage with those who speak violently or who wish to pick a fight.
We stand in vigil because pre-born children die a violent death, as described earlier, in these facilities. This is a heart breaking tragedy. It is a natural and very human response to gather at a site and to remember. We know too that abortion harms women. We know that not every woman walking into that place is there because she believes this is the right thing to do. We are there to offer support and help if she desires it.
Our presence is a gentle reminder of the tragedy that occurs. The proposed 150m radius is excessive. In Auckland, people will not even be able to gather peacefully and prayerfully in the local public park to pray for all those involved.
It appears to us – responsible, peaceful and caring citizens – that our presence is not wanted because it does save the lives of innocent unborn children from abortion and it saves their mothers from living with the tragic fact of what they have done.
There are those women we have helped that we know about. There are also many, many that we don’t. Take for instance the woman who at the beginning of 2018 approached people praying across the road from AMAC. She started talking, thanking them for their presence, for caring enough to be there. She told them that the previous year she had come for her abortion appointment, but wondered why these people were praying and singing. So she stood there and listened for a while. A few pleasantries were exchanged and she turned around, got in her car and went home. “Today my son is 3 months old.” This mother was so grateful, so joyful that someone cared enough to witness that day.
The question has to be asked. Why are those who promote and perform abortions so afraid of a small group of peaceful people – mums, dads, youth, elderly – that they want to infringe on our rights to mourn, to remember, to pray in public?
This Bill denies the rights of innocent human beings, vulnerable and dependant. It is a consequence of that view that the rights of those who speak up in their defense will also be silenced.
We are concerned about the precedence this will hold for the future when specific groups ……. (see what the bill actually says)
In conclusion. On your shoulders lies great responsibility. Life or death for future generations of New Zealanders and for the future wellbeing of women and families that will extend well past your tenure in government. When you write your report for the House to consider, you have an opportunity to acknowledge the humanity of the unborn child and his or her right to life, a right that is theirs because they are human – one of us.
You also have the opportunity to advocate for real choices for pregnant women who face difficulties. Choices that don’t pit a mother against her unborn child, but rather empower her to follow her dreams and have her baby. You can ensure that women are adequately informed about what the abortion procedure actually entails and that they are given sound information about the development of their little one. Information like the fact that his or her heart has been beating from 21 days. You can ensure that women are given enough time to follow up what support is available to them through organisations like ours that exist throughout the country.
Abortion is not health care. Abortion is violence towards the most vulnerable among us. New Zealand’s women and their unborn children deserve real choices, real support and excellent maternal healthcare that recognises the dignity of both lives.
Family Life International’s submission starts at approximately 1:05 on the video below.