The Minister of Justice in a letter to Right to Life dated 16 March 2018 stated that “this government believes that abortion is a health issue, that is a reproductive choice” and “the government and I do not believe that abortion should be a crime.”
The inconvenient truth for Andrew Little is that human life begins at conception and the child is endowed with an inalienable right to life and is entitled to the protection of the law.
Protection for the right to life of the unborn child has been in the Crimes Act since 1856. Abortion entails the killing of the weakest and most defenceless member of the human family. It has always been a crime to kill an unborn child. Right to Life believes that the Minister of Justice has a duty to explain to the community why he and his government now believe that it should no longer a crime to kill an unborn child.
The Minister claims that “New Zealand generally adheres to the born alive rule and thus prior to birth a foetus does not hold status as a legal person.” The Minister would be aware that section 159 of the Crimes Act Killing of a child, states, “A child becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded in a living state from the body of its mother, whether it has breathed or not and whether the naval string is severed or not.”
While this is what the law states it should be recognised that this is a legal fiction used to differentiate homicide from the killing of an unborn child. When formulating this law it was never the intention of Parliament to deny the personhood of the unborn child. It is noteworthy that this section refers to the child in utero as a child, not a fetus as quoted by the Minister which is the language of the Family Planning Association. This association seeks to dehumanise the child by refusing to call the unborn a child or a baby. It would be a grave injustice for the Minister to now seek to exploit this section in order to deny the humanity of the unborn child and claim that we do no harm when we kill an unborn child and that it is not a crime because the child has no rights.
The Minister is accepting a relativism that is divorced from the objective truth that seeks to dehumanise the unborn child. In place of the objective truth that the unborn child is a human being from conception and that there is no stage in the child’s development where it could be said that the child becomes a human being.
Right to Life had previously requested the Minister to direct the Law Commission to consider the important conclusions made in the report to Parliament in 1977 of the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion. The Minister has rejected the important findings of the Commission’s report on the grounds that they are now irrelevant and that the new legislation on abortion is to treat abortion as a health issue and fit for purpose in 2018.
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. 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.”
Mr Little and the New Zealand government know that an unborn child is a human being. They know that any move to decriminalise abortion and make it a ‘health issue’ is a travesty of justice and a mockery of the sanctity of human life. Should they go ahead and implement changes to our Crimes Act and lead our country down an even darker path than it is already on, then it will be upon their heads that responsibility for such evil will lie.
Right to Life.