Hon Joe Goodhew,
Minister of Women’s Affairs
Dear Ms Goodhew,
Convention for the Elimination of All Discrimination against Women [CEDAW]
Right to Life is concerned that the New Zealand Family Planning Association continues to act in the belief that Article 12 of CEDAW includes a “human right” to abortion.
Article 12 states, “ Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of health care to ensure on a basis of equality of men and women access to health care service, including those related to family planning.”
New Zealand is a signatory to this Convention, having signed on 20 December 1984.
It is our understanding, that it was the intention of the General Assembly on 18 December 1979, in adopting this Convention, that it was the intention of member States to exclude abortion as a part of family planning.
Right to Life supports the Convention with its commendable objective of eliminating discrimination against women. We are opposed to abortion which is the ultimate discrimination against women and the unborn child who is the weakest and most defenceless member of the human family.
In 1998 the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women met in Tunisia with representatives of UNFPA and WHO to have abortion included in Article 12 of the Convention. They had no authority from member States to do this. We are aware, that the CEDAW Committee at the United Nations, continues to interpret the Convention to comply with their agenda. We are also aware, that the Committee continues to demand of delegates of member States, appearing before the Committee, that their countries legislate for the decriminalisation of abortion.
In May 2012, the FPA made a submission to the Parliamentary Health Select Committee. The submission was on an Inquiry into preventing child abuse and improving children’s health outcomes. The FPA, in its submission, requested the urgent review of the abortion provisions in the Crimes Act 1961. It recommended, that abortion be decriminalised. Among the reasons for this proposal was the claim that the abortion law was in contravention of CEDAW.
The FPA have made a submission to the United Nations Human Rights Council in New York. In the submission, for the Universal Periodic Review, to be conducted in January February 2014, the FPA claims that the government is discriminating against women in violation of the requirements of CEDAW, by not decriminalising abortion.
The FPA conclude their submission with the following,
Recommendations to New Zealand:
1. In light of the evidence provided which demonstrates clear violations of women’s human rights, specifically women’s reproductive rights, right to highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, right to equality and to be free from all forms of discrimination, it is recommended that the Government of New Zealand: Provide unhindered access to safe abortion services that meet high standards of accessibility, acceptability and affordability. The Government of New Zealand should do this by:
a. Removing abortion from the Crimes Act 1961 to ensure legal access to abortion, in any circumstance, based on women’s decisions as to their body.
b. Removing administrative barriers existing in the CS&A act.
2. To do this the New Zealand Government should: Direct the Law Commission of New Zealand to conduct a full review of the suite of legislation related to abortion, with the intention of: removing abortion from the Crimes Act 1961 to ensure legal access to abortion, in any circumstance, based on women’s decisions as to their body, and removing administrative barriers existing in the CS&A act.
It is misleading and a threat to women for FPA to continue to falsely claim that there is a human right to kill an unborn child. The actions of FPA are damaging to the reputation and good name of New Zealand for FPA to misrepresent our country before the United Nations.
The CEDAW raises several important questions which we now ask you. It is misleading and a threat to women for FPA to continue to falsely claim that there is a human right to kill an unborn child. The FPA continues to misrepresent New Zealand at the United Nations, this is damaging to the reputation and good name of New Zealand. It is scandalous that the FPA receives more that $12 million in government funding each year.
Thank you for all that you are doing to promote the welfare of women in New Zealand.