Mr Mark Jennings,
Dear Mr Jennings
I wish to lodge a complaint against the article titled “ Labour moves to legalise abortion” written by Thomas Coughlan and published on 16 February 2018. My complaint is that the article breached the Press Council’s Principle 1. Accuracy, Fairness and Balance.
Terry Bellamak, an American lady from Arizona, President of ALRANZ advocates for the removal of all grounds from abortion. She claims that “we trust women to make their own decisions about their own bodies.” I believe in fairness it should have been mentioned that this “reform” would remove the prohibition to have an abortion on the grounds that the child was the wrong sex. This usually means that if the child was female it would be killed. This is the ultimate discrimination against women. It would also mean that the restriction on killing the unborn with minor disabilities would be revoked, this would mean increased discrimination against the disabled. It would also mean that more babies with Down syndrome would be killed as is happening in Europe where an estimated 90 per cent are killed before birth. It is estimated that in New Zealand at present 60 per cent are killed
The article states that doctors objecting to perform abortions may refuse on the grounds of conscience and are not required to advise the patient. This is incorrect, the doctor is obliged to inform the women why he is refusing to be in any way involved with the termination of the life of a child in utero. Section 43 of the CS & A Act 1977 gives conscience protection to all medical practitioners nurses and other hospital personnel from doing anything to facilitate an abortion. This even includes staff employed to prepare surgical equipment to be used in a surgical abortion.
The article infers that the abortion laws were established to provide ready and speedy access to abortion on demand. The article gives no recognition to the intention of Parliament in passing the abortion laws. It was the intention of Parliament in 1977 in passing amendments to the Crimes Act 1961 and in passing the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act to provide effective protection for the health of women and the right to life of unborn children.
The long title of the C.S. & A. Act states, “and to provide for the circumstances and procedures under which abortions may be authorised after having full regard to the rights of the unborn child.” These laws were those recommended by the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion appointed by the third Labour government of the Right Hon Bill Rowling in 1975.
The Commission in its report to Parliament said, upholding the status of the unborn child;
“The unborn child as one of the weakest, the most vulnerable and most defenceless forms of humanity, should receive protection. 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 and are not indicative of any qualitative changes in the developing fetus 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 words of the Commission were prophetic because we now have Parliament considering the “End of Life Choice bill” which if passed, will allow doctors to kill patients or assist in their suicide.
The annual reports of the Abortion Supervisory Committee consistently advise that 99 per cent of requests for abortion are approved and that 98 per cent of abortions are approved on the grounds of mental health. The ASC in 1995 advised the Justice Committee in a review of their performance at Parliament that mental health is the ground that certifying consultants use to provide abortion on demand. In fairness, the article should have stated that we have a regime of unlawful abortions that was alluded to in the ASCs report in 1988 when they reported on, “the present unwieldy system of authorising the termination of potentially normal pregnancies on pseudo-legal grounds.”
In my view the article lacked balance. Extensive comment was included from the Family Planning Association [NZFPA] and from the Abortion Law Reform Association [ALRANZ]. Both of these organisations are advocates for the removal of laws protecting the life of the unborn child. The FPA is the major abortion referral agency in New Zealand and performs medical abortions at its Tauranga clinic. According to Dame Margaret Sparrow, a previous national President, ALRANZ has a national membership estimated at 100 members. In my view because of its very small membership it cannot claim to represent the views of New Zealand women or a mass movement seeking the decriminalisation of abortion in New Zealand.
It is disappointing that as abortion entails the killing of an innocent unborn child, the weakest member of the human family, that comment was not sought from any pro-life organisation in New Zealand in defence of the child or the mother who is the second victim of abortion.
The article states; “Critics argue that the current legislation is out of date, inequitable and the cause of unnecessary distress.” The article would have had balance if it had also stated that critics argue that the vast majority of abortions authorised in New Zealand are unlawful and that innocent and defenceless unborn New Zealanders are being illegally deprived of their lives. This is a great injustice and a crime against humanity. Abortion is violence against vulnerable women and their unborn. Women complain that the abortion industry which is money driven, fails to provide women with full information about alternatives to abortion and the possible complications both short term and long term, that may result from abortion. Critics argue that as revealed in studies conducted at the Epsom Day clinic and the Waikato Hospital that many women seeking an abortion are subject to physical and sexual violence. Right to Life believes that many of these women are coerced into seeking an abortion that they do not want.
The article also lacked balance as there was no consideration of the fact that an abortion is a violation of human rights, the foundation right being the inalienable right to life. The United Nation Declaration of Human Rights states that our rights are both universal and inalienable, being inalienable they may not be given up nor may they be taken from us.
In conclusion, this article is in my view an article composed with the sole objective of advocating for the killing of the unborn. This is disappointing for a nation that kills its own children is a nation without a future.
Right to Life