19 August 2016
Ms Jan Logie MP,
Dear Ms Logie
Proposal to Restrict Right to Free Speech and Assembly
You are reported in the NZ Herald on 16 August as saying that it is worth debating whether New Zealand should introduce a no-protest zone around abortion clinics, similar to those enforced in some Australian states.
Right to Life is concerned at this disturbing proposal which is an attack on our human rights of free speech and assembly. Concerned citizens should also be concerned as an attack on the human rights of those who peacefully assemble outside the Thames Hospital is an attack on the human rights of every citizen. These are fundamental human rights that are upheld in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states, that our rights are universal and inalienable. Being universal, they are rights that we all have and being inalienable they are rights that may not be taken from us, nor may we give them up. These rights are also upheld in the New Zealand Bill of Rights.
Right to Life supports the right of free speech and assembly of those who assemble in a peaceful manner outside the Thames Hospital, to pray for mothers and their precious unborn and doctors and staff involved in abortion. They are also present, to offer assistance to women seeking an abortion, who might approach them in their hour of great need. Many women seeking an abortion have been coerced, the decision has been made by others, often the father of the child who has abandoned the mother.
You are quoted in the NZ Herald 16 August as saying, “I do think there is a genuine issue around the impact of those protests directly targeting women and making their lives worse” and “to be pointedly targeting women accessing those services and trying to control their decisions and have a psychological impact on those women and punishing them for having different morals, it’s really unacceptable.”
These are very serious accusations. You should be aware that there are three entrances to the Thames Hospital and that any person including women attending the Thames Hospital for an abortion, can use any of these three entrances, which has its own separate car park. The main entrance is on Mackay St. Those participating in the peaceful protest stand on the corner of Mackay and Mary streets.
As the Thames Hospital is a general Hospital, there are many people who attend the Hospital for reasons other than to have an abortion. There were 180 abortions performed at the Thames Hospital in 2015, which means that there would be an estimated three to four women each week seeking an abortion at Thames. These women could choose if they wished, to enter the Thames Hospital by one of the other two entrances. Many women who were seeking an abortion at an abortion facility have been grateful that there were people outside who were prepared to show love and compassion to them and to help them to choose life for their baby.
Your statements raise several serious questions, which we now formally ask you.
- How can women seeking an abortion at the Thames Hospital be targeted when it is not possible to differentiate between women seeking an abortion and those attending the Hospital for other purposes?
- What evidence do you have that women seeking an abortion at the Thames Hospital are being targeted?