26 September 2013
Abortion Supervisory Committee,
Dear Ms Melkiau
End Discrimination against Disabled Children
The report from the Commissioners of the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into Abortion on the Grounds of Disability was released on 17 July 2013. In the accompanying press release, the Commission of Inquiry stated, “The UK government must review the Abortion Act and end the discrimination against unborn disabled children” The Commission goes on to say that: “The current legislation is out-dated, allowing abortion for disabled babies up to birth and is in urgent need of reform.” The Commission recommended that the ground of foetal abnormality be repealed.
Right to Life believes that it is abhorrent that the law allows discrimination against babies diagnosed as having a disability. This is eugenics which proposes that only the healthy have a right to life. Section 187A  [aa] states; “That there is substantial risk that if the child, if born, would be physically or mentally abnormal as to be seriously handicapped. This discriminatory law is the foundation for the national screening programme for Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida and other disabilities. As Down Syndrome is a mild to moderate disability, what action has the Committee taken to ensure that abortions are not authorised on the ground of severe abnormality?
Abortion for alleged foetal abnormality is a violation of human rights. At conception every child is endowed with human rights, the foundation right being an inalienable right to life. A child does not forfeit its right to life because the child has a disability.
The New Zealand Disability Strategy’s vision is of a society that highly values the lives and continually enhances the full participation of disabled people. It provides a framework to guide government agencies making policy and services impacting on disabled people. In taking the lead, the Government will do everything possible to influence the attitudes and behaviour of society as a whole. By all New Zealanders considering issues facing people with disabilities and their aspirations, New Zealand can become a fully inclusive society.
Right to Life earnestly requests that your Committee takes cognisance of the UK Parliamentary Inquiry report and supporting the government’s disability strategy recommends to Parliament in its annual report for 2013 that discrimination against the disabled unborn cease with the repeal of foetal abnormality as a ground for abortion.