I wish to express concern that Parliament in passing the Whanganui River Claims Settlement bill on 14th April has bestowed on this river the status of personhood. It is noted that the Wanganui river now has a status equal to that of a human being and its status as a person is superior to that of an unborn child.
Right to Life makes no apology for again speaking up in defence of the human rights of New Zealand’s unborn children who have been deprived by Parliament of legal recognition of their status as persons and bearers of human rights. Our life and human rights are a gift from the Creator. It is our Creator who has bestowed on each one of us the status of personhood.
Right to Life believes that human life begins at conception. At the moment of conception there is a new human being who is endowed by its Creator with human rights, the foundation right being an inalienable right to life. Each created human being is a unique and unrepeatable miracle of God’s creation that is entitled to our profound respect and protection.
The Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion in its report to Parliament in 1977 stated that; ‘The unborn child, as one of the weakest, the most vulnerable and the most defenceless forms of humanity, should receive protection.” The Commission said, upholding the status of the unborn child; “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 are not indicative of any qualitative changes in the developing foetus 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.” The Commission said the right to life is a sacred principle of civilization; “It is an indispensable guarantee of the individual worth of the persons within it. Its universal denial would threaten civilization and would fail to recognize the dignity of man.” The Commission was opposed to the proposal that abortion should be a woman’s right to choose. The Commission stated; “it accords to the unborn child only that status which the individual doctor and the woman herself choose to give it.” Right to Life believes that with a “woman’s right to choose” the child becomes the property of the mother.
According to section 159 of the Crimes Act the child does not become a human being until it is born. This is a legal fiction based on convenience. The denial of the personhood of our unborn children is the greatest injustice of our era which has resulted in more than 500,000 unborn New Zealanders being killed since the passing of the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act in 1977.This is a crime against humanity and is a burden on the conscience of the nation.
Right to Life