Media Release 3 December 2018
In an unprecedented attack on the sanctity of life of the unborn the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and the Minister of Justice propose that the killing of children before birth should not be a crime.
The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, at the direction of the Prime Minister proposes to amend the Crimes Act to remove women and their unborn from the protection of the Crimes Act. This Act provides legal protection for women and unborn children against the violence of abortion, it also protects the right to life of the unborn, which has been in the Crimes Act since 1856.
Right to Life believes that the decriminalisation of abortion would be a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and requests our submission be referred to the Waitangi Tribunal for a decision on this matter.
Right to Life wrote to the Minister of Maori Development, the Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, in June 2018, requesting that she refer our submission to the Waitangi Tribunal for a decision, but she refused to do this, stating it would be inappropriate.
The Minister of Justice proposes that there would be no statutory test until 22 weeks of pregnancy. After 22 weeks pregnancy, the health practitioner intending to perform an abortion would need to be satisfied the abortion is appropriate in the circumstances, having regard to the women’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Right to Life believes that this represents a complete withdrawal by the government of protection for women and their unborn from the violence of abortion, including Maori. In the view of Right to Life, this would be a breach of Article Three of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Jacinda Ardern proposes that abortion, the killing of the unborn, should be taken out of the Crimes Act and treated as a reproductive issue of choice for women. It is her belief, and that of her government, that the killing of unborn children, those in Te Whare Tamariki, before birth, should not be a crime.
When the Treaty was signed at Waitangi in 1840, the Crown gave an assurance that Maori people would have the Queen’s protection and all the rights and privileges of British subjects.
We believe the protection of the Crown for the Maori people included the protection for the right to life of Maori from the beginning of pregnancy until death, which was provided by the common law of England and in the New Zealand Crimes Act since 1856.
For the government acting as the Crown to withdraw this protection for Maori women and their unborn would, in our view, be a serious violation of the Treaty.
Section 182. “Killing Unborn Child” of The Crimes Act provides protection for the life of the unborn including Maori. It is a serious crime to kill an unborn child and on conviction a person may be imprisoned for a term up to 14 years. Section 183. “Procuring abortion by any means” prohibits unlawful abortion, this is also a serious crime and every one on conviction, is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years. This section also states that; “the woman or girl shall not be charged as a party to an offence against this section.” It would be a great injustice for the government to remove this protection.
Why do Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little believe that it should not be a crime to kill an innocent and defenceless unborn child, by abortion?
It is the government’s intention to make it no longer a crime to kill an unborn child in an abortion. Those children who are classified as unwanted will be taken out of the Crimes Act in order that they may be killed as a health service as a “reproductive choice for women” These children will lose the protection of the Crown.
The decriminalisation of abortion would be a violation of the human rights of unborn children and an attack on the dignity of all mothers, including Maori mothers.
It would be a declaration from the Crown that we have no interest in protecting the life of your child or protecting you from the violence of abortion, that your child is your property and it is your choice whether your child lives or dies.
The abortion rate for Maori is disturbingly high. In 2017 there were 3,111 abortions on Maori women, 23.4% of the total of 13,285 abortions reported in New Zealand.
Right to Life believes that if abortion is decriminalised, it will result in more pressure and coercion imposed on Maori women to terminate the lives of their child by the father of the child, who may abandon the mother if she does not have an abortion.
Right to Life.