North & South,
Dear Ms Larsen,
The Meaning of Life
It is commendable that Joanna Wane had the fortitude to write an in depth article on the highly controversial human rights issue of abortion. However if she is going to write an article on the important issue of abortion, then it would be expected that her article would be factually correct and present a balance of views. This she fails to do.
It is noted that in this article of nine pages, approximately one quarter to three quarters of one page in total, is dedicated to pro-life comment; the remainder is devoted to the promotion of abortion as a necessary health service. Approximately 20 persons were interviewed in this article but only three who defended life. The other 17 are supportive of the killing of unborn children. Twelve of these were abortion activists. The article features the stories of four women who had an abortion and who did not reveal any damage inflicted on their health. There are many women in our community who are suffering a lifetime of physical and terrible psychological damage, as a result of their child being killed in an abortion. Why were none of these women interviewed and given the opportunity of warning other women of the potential suffering that results from abortion?
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of child abuse in the world yet we refuse to accept that abortion is the ultimate in child abuse. How can parliament pass legislation that makes it an offence to smack a child yet approves and funds as a core health service, the killing of the child before birth. There is considerable material in this article that contributes to the public conversation that we should be having about the killing of our precious children. In the pursuit of justice, I wish to lay a complaint against the article, “The meaning of Life” that appears in the October edition of North & South. My complaint is that the article breaches the Press Council Statement of Principles. The relevant Principles are Principal 1, Accuracy, Fairness and Balance and Principle 9, Conflict of Interest.
On page 62 Anne Brady, a counsellor at AMAC asks the question “When does life really begin”. This is a very important question that should have been addressed by Joanna Wane when writing this article. The issue is, ‘is it a child or is it a choice?’ The Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion in its report to Parliament in 1977, reported that the Commission had heard expert evidence from around the world which concluded that “human life began at the moment of conception.” At conception each child is a unique and unrepeatable miracle of creation. The Commission stated that “ the child, from implantation has a status which entitles it to preservation and protection. From implantation to birth, the report said, changes in the unborn child are of a developmental nature only”. “Between implantation to birth there is no point when the status of the child changes from being non-human to human.” The Commission said, “the right to life is a sacred principle of civilisation”
It is contended that the article failed to acknowledge that abortion is violence against women and their unborn. It is the rape of a women’s womb. Abortion entails the destruction of an unborn child who is the weakest and most defenceless member of the human family. How do we help women by killing their children? An ultra sound scan of a suction abortion shows the child with its mouth open in a silent scream and its heart-beat rising in terror frantically trying to evade the suction tube that has forced its way into the child’s home in the womb, for the purpose of tearing the child limb from limb. This is the ultimate in child abuse.
The article portrays abortion as a health service which women need and want. This is false and offensive to many women. Studies done in the United States, reveal that 60 per cent of women who ‘seek’ an abortion do so, not because it is their choice, but because it is a decision made by others. In many cases it is made by the father of the child who wants to avoid his responsibilities to the mother of his child. It is false to say it’s a woman’s choice for it is often the choice of men who have abandoned their child and threaten to abandon the mother. Why do we continue to hear that it is a women’s right to choose? Nobody has the right to kill another person.
Studies done in the United States also reveal that 80 per cent of women who have an abortion would not have done so, if help was available to the mother. Why don’t we as a community offer love and compassion to women distressed with an unplanned pregnancy? Our women deserve better.
On page 62 it is claimed that one in four women will have an abortion in their lifetime. This is untrue and gives a false picture of the number of women having abortions. It fails to take into account that since the abortion legislation was passed, that each year approximately one third of abortions are repeat abortions.
The article failed to reveal that, according to Statistics New Zealand, in 2012there were 5,585 women who were having a repeat abortion.3,648 women were having their second abortion, 1,259 women were having their third,1,259 their third, 457 their fourth, 165 their fifth, 38 their sixth, 16 their seventh and 12 their eighth or more abortion. Why is this? How many women are using abortion as a form of contraception? The impact of repeat abortions on the health of so many women is likely to be very significant. What is being done to help these women avoid a path of self destruction? The general abortion rate in 2012, ie the number of abortions for every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 was 16.
A specialist who performs abortions in Auckland and the Waikato stated that “The law was an ass and a joke and its being manipulated. But I am pragmatic about it, because the system was working.” This was a public admittance by an abortionist, that he had contempt for the law which was passed by Parliament with the intention of protecting the rights of the unborn child and the health of the mother. The doctor had previously made a written commitment that he would authorise abortions in accordance with the law. It is disappointing that the author of the article did not challenge him on why unborn babies were being killed unlawfully in violation of their human rights.
On page 64, Dr Simon Snook lauds early medical abortions using Mifepristone RU 486. The article does not mention that there is a conflict of interest here, because Dr Snook is a shareholder and Director in Istar Ltd the only importer of Mifepristone RU 486 in New Zealand.
Dr Snook claims that Mifepristone is safe and that there is “overwhelming evidence” to support its use. Where is the evidence? The real facts are that to date 21 women have died worldwide including one woman in Australia as a result of using this drug. A study done in South Australia with 7,000 women in 2009 who had a medical abortion, revealed that 5.7 per cent of the women were hospitalised, with complications. The rate for the hospitalisation of women following a surgical abortion was 0.4 per cent.
Dr Snook claims that “that for me to say she is mentally unwell – or will be if the pregnancy continues – is a misnomer. This is about choice.” Here we have a statement by one of the busiest abortionists in New Zealand saying that for him, authorising an abortion is about choice. The abortion laws do not allow for abortion as matter of choice; this is unlawful. The Crimes Act provides in section 183 that it is unlawful to procure an abortion and that on conviction the person convicted may be give a prison sentence for up to 14 years. Why did the author of the article not inquire as to why Dr Snook was breaking the law and depriving innocent and defenceless unborn babies of their life. Why too, did the author not enquire from the Abortion Supervisory Committee [ASC] to whom Dr Snook is accountable, as to what action they would take to ensure that Dr Snook complied with the law. It appears that Dr Snook is contemptuous of the law passed by Parliament in 1977.
On page 65, it states that the new abortion law passed by the Texas Senate placed restrictions which would force 37 of the 42 abortion clinics to close. The statement infers that the law was punitive. The article fails to state what those restrictions are. The bill SB5 signed by Governor Rick Perry on Thursday 18 July 2013, achieved three objectives to improve patient safety; one to ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation because they caused severe pain for the unborn child, two to require all abortion clinics to meet the same standard as required by surgical health clinics and three, for abortionists to have admittance privileges for their patients in case of an emergency, to a hospital within 30 miles of their abortion clinic.
Dr Snook claims that a Blenheim general practitioner, Dr Lee refused to prescribe contraception to a 23 year old because she had not done her “reproductive job” This un-collaborated statement is incorrect and defamatory of Dr Lee. The doctor in an interview with a reporter from the NZ Catholic refutes this outlandish accusation. Why was this story not checked?
The claim is made that women no longer die from botched back-street abortions which caused at least 42 deaths here in 1934.This claim is misleading because it fails to record the total of maternal deaths. The death of even one woman is a tragedy. The truth is that in 1934 there were 118 maternal deaths reported in New Zealand including septic abortion. There were 82 maternal deaths excluding septic abortion. Before the advent of antibiotics Sepsis was a tragic cause of maternal deaths. Sepsis is still a leading cause of maternal mortality.
On page 67 it states that fetal pain is not felt before 24 weeks. This is incorrect. The pro-abortion movement vigorously deny that the unborn child feels pain. The United States Congress in June 2013, after receiving expert medical evidence, passed the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks to prevent pain to the child. The bill has now gone to the Senate. A similar measure to ban abortions after 20 weeks that will cause pain to the unborn child has been passed by eleven US states.
The article claimed that if the court action taken by Right to Life in the Judicial Review of the performance of the Abortion Supervisory Committee had succeeded, it would have imposed severe restrictions to abortion services. This is totally incorrect. The purpose of our action was to seek to have the ASC perform its statutory duties as set out in the law.
It is worthy of note that the Abortion Supervisory Committee in its report to Parliament in 1988 stated:
“If abortion is abhorrent to the majority of our thinking population, then the emphasis should be on education aimed at achieving a higher proportion of planned pregnancies than perpetuating the present unwieldy system of authorising termination of potentially normal pregnancies on pseudo-legal grounds.”
The expression, ‘people in glass houses’ springs to mind.
It is the role of every Christian to refrain from cultural and intellectual elitism. Someone else’s belief system should not affect another person’s human rights. We are prompted to think about the worth of the naive and guileless among us, without judgement, but with compassion.