Media Release 25 August 2018
Right to Life believes that the Law Commission should be guided by the wise conclusions made by the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion in its report to Parliament in 1977.
The Law Commission advised Right to Life in April in response to an Official Information Act request, that the Commission had a copy of the report. The Commission advised that it “is aware that there were a range of views about the extent to which the interest of the fetus should be taken into account. Some of the alternatives the Committee presents in its advice may take the status of the fetus into account to varying extents.”
Right to Life is extremely disappointed and concerned at the response of the Commission. Why, is the Commission dehumanising the unborn child by insisting on calling the child a fetus. The Commission is aware that if it wishes to deny the human rights of the child it is first necessary to deny the child’s humanity. The Commission appears to support the dangerous and false notion that the status of the child is a matter for public opinion. This proposal is an attack on the human rights of every member of our community and violates the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Right to Life earnestly entreats the Commission to place the status of the unborn child and its right to life at the forefront of its review of the abortion laws in New Zealand.
The Commission appears to be influenced by the Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, who believes that the Commission’s report is no longer relevant, he advised our Society in March, “in regards to your fourth request, I would expect the Law Commission to take into account any documents or reviews that are of contemporary relevance . I would take note that the report of the Royal Commission that you reference was undertaken in the 1970s.”
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 legal 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.” Does the Law Commission have any evidence that these conclusions are now no longer relevant and should be disregarded?
Right to Life asks the Hon. Andrew Little and the Law Commission why these important and fundamental conclusions about the status of our precious unborn children are not to be at the forefront of the law review by the Commission.
Right to Life