Abortion Supervisory Committee wrong to call abortion health care

Family Life International NZ Press Release 16 February 2018

The Abortion Supervisory Committee’s call for greater access to abortion as health care and specifically for the people in South Auckland is of serious concern.

“Healthcare is about providing the medical needs of patients,” says Michelle Kaufman, Director of Family Life International “Health care does not end the life of one for the convenience of the other.”

“Abortion is not health care it kills one person.”


Parents as primary educators and the dangers of sexuality education

Matthew 18:6Right now my husband and I are engaged in discussions with not one, but two of my children’s schools regarding their so-called sexuality programmes.

This isn’t anything new.  I have been working for Family Life International since its inception when I was just a teen.  Over the years there have been many stories from concerned parents.  Our team have viewed and reviewed various programmes and assisted parents in their battles.  The agenda of sexuality educators, often trained up by Family Planning (or their cohorts), which spread a distorted view of human sexuality and ignore the primary rights of parents to educate their children in these matters is not new and neither is the resistance to it.


Candlelight Vigil marks half-way point of 40 Days for Life

by Michael Loretz

Despite the wet weather, more than 150 people gathered on the street outside Auckland’s AMAC abortion facility to pray and bear witness on Sunday evening (28th February). “Be my Light”, a special vigil hour for the unborn, was organised by Family Life International NZ to mark the halfway point for the annual 40 Days for Life prayer vigils being held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch throughout Lent and up to Palm Sunday.


Help save lives: praying for an end to abortion

A great prayer for life JPIIThis week is historic for New Zealand.  For the first time, there will be simultaneous prayer vigils outside abortion facilities in three major cities in New Zealand for a full 40 days!  Not only that, various other cities are holding vigils in solidarity, and thousands more will pray in their homes and in their places of worship to bring about the end of abortion in our land!  Our dream is that all believers will sense the urgency to petition God in all humility, to bring about the end of abortion in New Zealand.


Mercy and defending life

My dear friends in Christ,

The inauguration of the Year of Mercy should be for all apostles and defenders of human life an impetus to live more faithfully and fully the message of the Gospel of Life in which Christ our Saviour calls us to be as merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful.  (Lk.6:36)

Whenever one faithfully practices the Christian life by acting mercifully towards one’s neighbour, one’s concern actually encompasses Christ personally (Mt.25:40).  As such, any act of mercy becomes fruitful and blossoms into eternal life.  In order to be merciful, it is necessary to know specifically in what mercy consists.  St. Augustine defines mercy as a “heartfelt sympathy for another’s distress, impelling us to help him if we can.”


Whom do they serve?

It appears to be generally understood by the public that aborted foetal cells are absolutely necessary for research. There is a benefit to taking the life of a child – all for the greater good we are told. “Similar to organ donation” would be a comparable explanation to justify and placate the curious. But is this really the case; that using the cells, tissue and body parts of an unborn child is advantageous to medical research? After all, who wants to see somebody suffer with a debilitating illness such as Parkinsons when there’s a potential cure just waiting to be found? It could even sound cruel to deny an expert the opportunity to investigate a pathway that is “life-saving”.


The tragedy of “surplus” embryos

cryopreservationA tragedy is about to unfold in New Zealand history.

Almost 2,000 embryos, lives suspended through cyropreservation, have a final date of existence.  They must be destroyed within six months of November 22nd.

Each of these embryos were created at some time because someone wanted to become a parent.  For whatever reason (and there will be many) these particular embryos, were not transferred into a woman’s womb.

Now, unless special permission has been granted to extend their storage, these embryos must be destroyed.  They have reached what is deemed to be a reasonable storage limit of ten years.  This tragedy will unfold every week in New Zealand from now on as more frozen embryos reach that ten year mark.

This tragedy has no simple or perfect solution.

The embryos are human beings, who have a right to life and inherent dignity.

It is wondered by some, out of deep respect for those whose lives have been suspended and are now to be destroyed, if embryo adoption is a solution.

Some theologians and bio-ethicists, acknowledging that IVF itself is morally illicit, have argued that embryo adoption would be the appropriate solution as the embryos have a right to life.

However there are important considerations to ponder.

The following are just a few of the many things to consider:

Every person has inherent dignity from the moment of conception through to natural death.
The human embryo, created in vitro has the same dignity as every person conceived.

Cryopreseveration (feezing) embryos is an injustice
Dignitas Personae and Donum vitae make it clear that freezing of embryos is  “incompatible with the respect owed to human embryos”. 

No one is obligated to prolong life by extraordinary means.
This is true when someone is nearing the end of their life.  The same principle surely can be applied in this situation. Embryo transfer can be deemed an extraordinary means to save a life, as could indefinite freezing of embryos.

It is unethical for the embryos to be used solely to treat infertility
Many argue that the surplus embryos could go to women who suffer infertility.  However, the Church in Dignitas Personae rules this possibility out aligning it with surrogacy and heterologous procreation (see #19).

Theologians have considered many other things in regard to this issue and to the whole area of reproductive technologies.  The Church is also concerned about the marital union and the rights of the human person.  A simple search on the topic will reveal a number of essays outlining arguments both for and against embryo adoption from the Catholic perspective.

Dignitas Personae speaks of embryo adoption in this way:

It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of “prenatal adoption”. This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.

The document goes on to say that

 All things considered, it needs to be recognized that the thousands of abandoned embryos represent a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved.

Caution in this situation is the most prudent way to proceed.

Allowing the embryos to remain frozen continues the injustice that these embryos have already suffered.

Mauro Cozzoli writes in his article The Human Embryo:  Ethical and Normative Aspects 

The thought that to save a life one must violate other values, and thus add injustice to injustice, is alarming and disheartening.  If one fails to see a way out that can be humanly approved, it is because the road that has been undertaken with artificial procreation is blind and dark, so that the only solution is radical:  to turn back and refuse to continue on it.

It would seem the cautious and most prudent way forward at this time is to allow the final act of life which is death.  Allowing the death of these embryos, affording them the proper dignity due a human person, is not the same as causing their deaths.  They must not simply be disposed of and treated as simple “medical waste”, but given a proper burial befitting a human person.

Now we must commend these little ones to God, while committing ourselves to work for the “reform of morally unacceptable civil laws and the correction of illicit practices.”  (Donum vitae III Moral and Civil Law).


Further posts on this topic:
The real cost of IVF in New Zealand:  human life
Calling embryos “reproductive material” is degrading
Frozen with an expiry date
Extrauterine embryos

Nearly 2,000 frozen embryos to be discarded in New Zealand


Dignitas Personae on the freezing of embryos

18. One of the methods for improving the chances of success in techniques of in vitrofertilization is the multiplication of attempts. In order to avoid repeatedly taking oocytes from the woman’s body, the process involves a single intervention in which multiple oocytes are taken, followed by cryopreservation of a considerable number of the embryos conceivedin vitro.[35]  In this way, should the initial attempt at achieving pregnancy not succeed, the procedure can be repeated or additional pregnancies attempted at a later date. In some cases, even the embryos used in the first transfer are frozen because the hormonal ovarian stimulation used to obtain the oocytes has certain effects which lead physicians to wait until the woman’s physiological conditions have returned to normal before attempting to transfer an embryo into her womb.

Cryopreservation is incompatible with the respect owed to human embryos; it presupposes their production in vitro; it exposes them to the serious risk of death or physical harm, since a high percentage does not survive the process of freezing and thawing; it deprives them at least temporarily of maternal reception and gestation; it places them in a situation in which they are susceptible to further offense and manipulation.[36]

The majority of embryos that are not used remain “orphans”. Their parents do not ask for them and at times all trace of the parents is lost. This is why there are thousands upon thousands of frozen embryos in almost all countries where in vitro fertilization takes place.

19. With regard to the large number of frozen embryos already in existence the question becomes: what to do with them?  Some of those who pose this question do not grasp its ethical nature, motivated as they are by laws in some countries that require cryopreservation centers to empty their storage tanks periodically. Others, however, are aware that a grave injustice has been perpetrated and wonder how best to respond to the duty of resolving it.

Proposals to use these embryos for research or for the treatment of disease are obviously unacceptable because they treat the embryos as mere “biological material” and result in their destruction. The proposal to thaw such embryos without reactivating them and use them for research, as if they were normal cadavers, is also unacceptable.[37]

The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as atreatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood;[38] this practice would also lead to other problems of a medical, psychological and legal nature.

It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of “prenatal adoption”. This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.

All things considered, it needs to be recognized that the thousands of abandoned embryos represent a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved. Therefore John Paul II made an “appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos which are and remain the subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons”.[39]


[35] Cryopreservation of embryos refers to freezing them at extremely low temperatures, allowing long term storage.
[36] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae, I, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 84-85.
[37] Cf. numbers 34-35 below.
[38] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae, II, A, 1-3: AAS80 (1988), 87-89.
[39] John Paul II, Address to the participants in the Symposium on “Evangelium vitae and Law” and the Eleventh International Colloquium on Roman and Canon Law (24 May 1996), 6: AAS 88 (1996), 943-944.

Stem Cells in Queenstown


A recent news article reports that a regenerative medicine and research centre is planned for Queenstown. While the current therapies offered by those involved are all from adult stem cells, the involvement on Dr Samuel Wood from San Diego is troubling. He and his company, Stemagen, are known for human cloning to create human embryonic stem cells. Samuel Wood headed the team that created the first human clones. All 5 were clones of him, but they were only allowed to develop to the blastocyst stage before they were destroyed.

The centre planned for Queenstown will be using existing stem cell therapies. These are based on the patient’s own adult stem cells. These can be used without fear of the patient rejecting the cells, as sometimes happens with organ transplants. But they are also planning to do research, and that is where the association with Dr Wood is worrying.

Dr Wood’s company continues to research human cloning and human embryonic stem cells from those clones. But he depends on human oocytes (eggs) to generate his clones; and it’s proved difficult to find egg donors. New Zealand represents a potential source of egg donors; but while it might be legal, it’s currently not legal to pay donors here. This would make it difficult although not impossible to do his research. Although that might soon change, the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology have suggested that the “Compensation levels” for gamete (sperm and egg) donors should be increased.

This is a very concerning development. Egg donation is a highly medicated and invasive process that exposes the donor to significant risks. Queenstown attracts young people because of the adventure sports in the area. The wages aren’t that good and the cost of living in Queenstown is high. It would be disturbing if the Ministry of health allowed a situation where young women in New Zealand could be put at risk of permanent health problems for a short term financial gain.

We shouldn’t allow compensation for egg donation in New Zealand, and we certainly do not want to become the embryonic stem cell capital of the Pacific.

However, the proposed regenerative medicine centre for Queenstown does show the difference between adult and embryonic stem cells in medicine. Embryonic stem cell therapy remains a dream. But adult stem cells are being used in medicine right now. The research money that has gone into using embryonic stem cells to cure Parkinson’s disease and repair spinal cord injuries hasn’t cured anyone. Worse still, embryonic research has taken money from other research programs which were much closer to human trials.

But the real toll of embryonic stem cell treatment is the human toll. Women are reduced to donors, at risk to themselves. And the embryos created as treated as biological research material that can be destroyed to generate the hope of a cure. Hardly the way to treat the youngest and most defenceless humans.


Truth and Reconciliation

The issue is simple. Either ALL lives have value or none do. south_africa_father_childEither ALL lives have a dignity or none possess this innate quality.
Rights or values that are arbitrarily applied can just as easily be retracted. Last century undoubtedly witnessed the greatest denial of human dignity within world history. Communism, Nazism and, to a lesser extent, Apartheid, emerge as monsters in this praxis. But there is one loudly-silent denier of human dignity. One that outpaces the others by its sheer number of victims; that is abortion.

Standing and praying outside an abortion clinic can expose you to the heart of the beast. And that is the attack on truth or at best an ignorance or distortion of it. Very few discuss; some shout; others give you the fingers and move on. Their version of what constitutes truth even though it may not hold up to scrutiny is all that matters. Recently, an overt ‘middle-class’ lady shouted “and who is going to take care of all these (thousands of) children?” Who indeed?

Is it because we know what happens during an abortion and that this truth is uncomfortable?

Well, how can the taking of innocent life ever be seen as comforting or normal? Sadly, abortion has been so ‘normalised’ within society that it sometimes sounds like “I’m just going for a cup of coffee” or “I’ve had my hair done this morning”. Instead we have invented phrases and twisted words to assuage our consciences that if everybody else does it, then surely it must be okay.

But New Zealand history shows that Kiwis do stand up for the ‘under-dog’, the person who is ill-treated, oppressed, killed or simply denied their innate dignity. I recall watching in the early 80’s, as thousands of ordinary Kiwis stood up for the 2nd and 3rd class citizens of South Africa. Many of us were amazed that so many ‘distant’ people could be the voice of the voiceless. They could and did speak up for the oppressed; for those brutalised by an unjust system. A system based purely on a single attribute of their humanity; the colour of a person’s skin. This raises a question; is it easier to support a cause that is in a far-off land; far away from you? Thus the closer to home, the less comfortable people may feel?

But apartheid was not only about racial discrimination. There was a much less-discussed economic aspect to it. By keeping people down, by denying their dignity, it was easier to exploit them. A select few were making money through exploiting others. Some ‘fat cats’ were making huge sums of money through cheap labour. Of course, there was no concern over the home situation of the exploited masses. None of the ‘top dogs’ walked in their shoes; none of them knew or cared about the situation of their underlings. Profit was the concern, not people.

Is it a co-incidence that we have today the aptly named abortion industry?

Fast forward 30 years and so few speak up for the voiceless; the unborn child, the woman being pressurised to “get rid of IT”.  One invariably finds that some who were anti-apartheid, anti-discrimination back then, are keen promoters of abortion. The dignity of ‘non-white’ peoples was recognised and defended back then, but for the unborn child, a strange double-standard is still at play. Discrimination based on a single attribute – that these children are unborn. Lest we forget that science clearly shows that an unborn child in the foetal stages of growth is a separate human being. Much the same like the non-white in South Africa.

A key difference was that the South African system enforced the “Group Areas Act” which did not allow certain types to occupy the same space whereas with an unborn child, nature dictates otherwise.

The same rhetoric fashionable today was applied back then. “My body my choice” could easily read “my slave my choice” or if you want, “my worker my choice”. All that is needed is simply a few words on a piece of paper, and the deed is done. It is legal. It is the law.

But does anybody give a thought for the victims; those affected by these acts of exploitation. Like under apartheid, there were many. Some were just doing their jobs; they felt it was good for the non-beings; those who were different to them. Likewise in the abortion industry. Many are just doing their jobs; many think they are helping women. A select few are reaping the financial rewards off the tears of others. Unfortunately, just as under apartheid, many of the people at the ‘top’ are victims as well. As they refuse to or do not see the humanity, the dignity of others, so too do they lose their own dignity.

It is just that situation that has led many to apologise for what happened in South Africa. Somehow they felt that they should. So too do we find in the abortion industry. Some people are recognising the error of their ways and walking away. It appears that there comes a time in their life when reality kicks in. And the workers walk away.

But just like under the apartheid system, healing can occur; help is at hand for those who recognise clearly what abortion does and the ramifications upon the individual – mothers, fathers and abortion workers. A “truth and reconciliation” process as happened after the end of apartheid also occurs post-abortion. Individuals seeking healing have already confronted the truth; reconciliation can begin. The major difference is that with abortion, this process is private; there are no recriminations, no finger pointing. Only closure, healing, love – a restoration of dignity.