Dear Ms Norris,
Complaint- Breach of Press Council Guidelines
I wish to lodge a formal complaint against an article titled, ‘New contraception slows abortion rates’. This article was published on July 1 in section A5. It is alleged that the article is in breach of Principle 1, Accuracy, fairness and balance. Our submission is that in articles of controversy or disagreement and that a fair voice must be given to the opposition view.
Right to Life is pro-women, pro-family and has as its main objective to defend the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death. This article had important comment from the Family Planning Association of New Zealand (FPA) on the very important subject of the abortion statistics for 2012. There was no comment from any pro-life organisation. We make the following points regarding the FPA.
- It is the major abortion referral agency in New Zealand.
- It supports the killing of unborn children as a backup for failed contraception. This is not a lawful ground for abortion in New Zealand.
Balance and Fairness
It is contended that the article lacked fairness by failing to produce comment from any pro-life organisation. We are aware that a number of pro-life organisations issued media releases immediately following the release of the abortion statistics on by Statistics New Zealand on 19 June. It would appear that a deliberate editorial decision was made not to include comment from any of the following organisations that have the support of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders. The organisations are Family Life International, the Nathaniel Centre, Right to Life, Voice for Life, Family First and Pro-life New Zealand.
It is noted that in articles of controversy or disagreement, a fair voice must be given to the opposition view. Exceptions may apply for long-running issues where every side cannot reasonably be repeated on every occasion and in reportage of proceedings where balance is to be judged on a number of stories, rather than a single report. Our Society is not aware of extensive comment from any pro-life organisation being published in recent years in the Press.
The article is inaccurate in promoting the idea that contraception is the solution to our appalling abortion statistics, with the implication that if we can encourage more women to have Jadelle implants, the abortion total will decline. There have been no studies done on this issue so there is no evidence to support this conclusion. The truth is that contraceptives including Jadelle implants are abortifacent and cause abortions and the destruction of human life. Our Society seeks to uphold the truth and believes that the Press is inadvertently doing women a great disservice by withholding this critical information from them. Women have a legal right to be fully informed and to give informed consent.
Right to Life therefore challenges Family Planning chief executive, Jackie Edmund’s claim that abortion rates are falling worldwide as a result of the increasing availability of long acting reversible contraception such as Jadelle which is a levonorgestrel ( LNG) rod implant that sterilises a women for up to five years. Jadelle has been funded by the New Zealand government since 2010. Family Planning staff in the last financial year sterilised 4,000 women by implanting Jadelle rods into women. It is believed that there are 20,000 women in New Zealand with Jadelle implants. The Association is doing women a grave disservice by encouraging them to have Jadelle rods inserted.
Family Planning’s actions are not the solution but part of the problem.
Human life begins at conception and every human being is a unique and unrepeatable miracle of God’s loving creation, deserving of our respect and protection. The Jadelle implant has a tertiary action of preventing a newly conceived tiny human being from implanting in its mother’s womb. Research reveals that a woman with a Jadelle implant may have two chemical abortions each year. Every life is precious whether it is only several days old or 20 weeks old. Every abortion is violence against women and their unborn. These implants are a denial of the right to life of the innocent and most defenceless members of the human family.
Family Planning claim that Jadelle is largely responsible for the reduction of abortions in 2012. This claim is also challenged. It may be assumed that prior to having Jadelle implanted the women were on other contraception. Statistics New Zealand has provided statistics on the proportion of known pregnancies ending in an abortion. In 2012 the abortion ratio was 193 abortions per 1,000 known pregnancies, compared with 204 in 2011. The 2012 ratio is the lowest recorded since 1995 when it was 191 per 1,000. Known pregnancies include live births, stillbirths and induced abortions combined.
Right to Life believes that the declining abortion rates are due to;
- A growing realisation that abortion is violence against women and that it damages a woman’s health.
- An increasing understanding through ultrasound and science of the humanity of the unborn and the truth that every child is a unique an unrepeatable miracle of God’s loving creation.
Why is Family Planning encouraging women to fill their bodies with dangerous foreign objects which have serious health consequences? The Jadelle implant is a violent assault on women’s fertility. Pregnancy is not a disease and the unborn are not the enemy. The implant is carcinogenic and causes liver dysfunction, thrombosis, high blood pressure, nausea headaches and weight gain. In addition Jadelle does not protect a woman from sexually transmitted diseases or from Aids.
The solution to our appalling abortion statistics is not more contraception, but abstinence before marriage and faithfulness within marriage. Family Planning in promoting contraception, sterilisation and abortion is promoting a culture of death and is doing great damage to our community. Right to Life is disappointed that the government continues to support and fund the agenda of Family Planning.