16th Feb 2018
Hon. Andrew Little MP…
Official Information Act –Request.
I wish to request under the Official Information Act the following information.
- Do you have a policy that accepts that human life begins at conception?
- Do you support a policy that holds that the unborn child is the bearer of human rights the foundation right being an inalienable right to life?
- Do you support a policy that recognises that the killing of an unborn child is a crime?
- Do you have a policy to require the Law Commission to take serious note of the report to Parliament of the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion and its conclusion that the law should protect the lives of the unborn?
- Do you support a policy to provide protection for the lives of all New Zealanders from conception to natural death?
- What grounds do you have for seeking to remove the unborn child from the protection of the Crimes Act 1961, Part VIII Crimes against the Person?
Since 1978 more than 500,000 defenceless and innocent New Zealanders have been killed in their mother’s womb. This is provided by the government as a “termination of pregnancy service” and a core health service. It was the intention of Parliament in 1977 to provide effective legal protection for the life of the unborn and for the health and welfare of women. It is indeed tragic that today there are those in our community and in Parliament who wish to remove the unborn child from the protection of the Crimes Act and make the killing of the unborn a health issue. It is not a health issue, it is a human rights issue. The killing of our precious unborn is a crime against humanity. Abortion is also violence against women who are the second victim of abortion. We believe that a nation that kills its own children is a nation without a future. Right to Life is confident that at this most critical moment in our history you will exercise your Ministerial authority to protect the most vulnerable in our community and to promote the common good.
It is understood that you are finalising for the Law Commission the terms of reference for the review of the abortion laws in New Zealand. Right to Life makes no apology for speaking up in defence of women and the unborn child the weakest and most defenceless member of the human family. Right to Life is opposed to the proposal to decriminalise abortion. Since the founding of the Labour Party and the leadership of Michael Savage the Labour Party has been a defender of a culture of life, including the unborn child. Support for the decriminalisation of abortion is alien to the founding principles of Labour.
I believe that it is important to recall that the current abortion laws were recommended by the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion in its report to Parliament in 1977. This respected Commission was appointed by the distinguished Right Hon Bill Rowling, the leader of the third Labour government.
The Commission in its report to Parliament said, upholding the status of the unborn child. “The unborn child as one of the weakest, the most vulnerable and most defenceless forms of humanity, should receive protection. From a biological point of view there is no argument as to when life begins. Evidence was given to us by eminent scientists from all over the world. None of them suggested that human life begins at any other time than at conception”
They went on to say, “From implantation to birth, changes which take place in the unborn child are of a developmental nature only. There are no changes of a qualitative nature. The three events suggested as being of significance, namely quickening, viability and brain development are no more than stages in that development and are not indicative of any qualitative changes in the developing fetus which would make it non-human at one point of time and human at another.”
In rejecting the argument that some degree of development should be reached before the unborn child be accorded status the Commission said, “If some stage of physical or mental development has to be accepted as indicating whether or not human life is in being, so a stage may be reached at the other end of life where a person who has become senile or has lost consciousness may be disposed of.”
I believe that, if we as a society deny the humanity of the unborn, then logically we will one day deny the humanity of those who are suffering dementia and Alzheimer’s. The denial of the humanity and right to life of the unborn is a threat to the right to life of every citizen.
Right to Life believes that it is important that we understand why abortion is in the Crimes Act under Section VIII, Crimes against the Person and why it would be a great injustice to women and to the unborn to remove abortion from the Crimes Act and treat abortion purely as a health issue. The killing of the unborn is not a health service. Section 183 Procuring abortion by any means states that the unlawful killing of the unborn child is a serious crime and that on conviction an offender may be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 14 years. This section recognises that the unborn child for the purposes of this act is from the moment of implantation a human being endowed with human rights, its foundation right being a right to life. It is also an acknowledgement that the state has a duty to protect the right to life of the unborn child. Lastly, it is an acknowledgement that the state has an interest in protecting the life of its future citizens who will guarantee the future of society.
Those who support the decriminalisation of abortion claim that the inclusion of abortion in the Crimes Act makes women criminals, this is false. Section 183 states, that a woman or girl may not be charged as a party to this section.
The grounds that abortions may be authorised on are found in section 187A of the Crimes Act. This section does not legalise abortions, it merely gives permission to a doctor to perform an abortion without fear of prosecution if he has honest belief in the specified grounds
The removal of abortion from the Crimes Act should be strongly opposed, for the following reasons; it would be a declaration by the state that the unborn child is not a human being and is not the bearer of human rights including a right to life. It would also be a declaration by the state that it has no interest in protecting the lives of its future citizens, still unborn. The unborn child would effectively be recognised as the property of the mother who would have the sole right to decide whether her child lives or dies. It would mean that a woman could seek an abortion for any reason, including sex selection abortions because the child was the wrong sex, this would mean from overseas experience that girls would often be aborted because the parents wanted a boy; this would be discrimination against women. Decriminalisation would extend the grounds of disability to allow abortion for minor disability; this would be discrimination against the disabled.
If we as a society deny the humanity of the unborn, then logically we will one day deny the humanity of those who are suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s. The denial of the humanity and right to life of the unborn is a threat to the right to life of every citizen.
In conclusion Right to Life requests that you withdraw support for the decriminalisation of abortion and that you use your influence to have the current unlawful abortion on demand stopped and to promote adoption as a loving option.
Thank you for all that you are doing to promote the common good.
17 Feb 2017
Hon Andrew Little,
Minister of Justice,
Official Information Act – Request
I wish to request under the Official Information Act the following information:-
- A copy of the letter received by you from the Prime Minister directing that you initiate a review of the abortion laws in New Zealand.
- A copy of the terms of reference drafted by you for the Law Commission for their review of the abortion laws.
- A copy of the written response to you from the NZ First and Green parties to the terms of reference.
Right to Life