Media Release 13 May 2021
Why is the government of Jacinda Ardern giving overwhelming support to the anti-life Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment bill, when there is no real evidence of intimidation or harassment of women seeking abortion? This bill claims to protect women from harassment and intimidation but in reality Right to Life believes that its objective is to intimidate and harass peaceful law abiding citizens praying for an end to the killing of the unborn, for their mothers and for the staff at these facilities, for they too are victims.
17 District Health Boards in New Zealand have advised Right to Life in response to an Official Information Act request that they have no record of either verbal or written complaints of intimidation or harassment from women accessing abortion at their facilities, nor did they have complaints from staff accessing abortion facilities.
These were the questions asked:-
I wish to request under the Official Information Act the following information:
• The number of written and oral complaints of harassment received from women accessing abortion at your facilities for the period 2019 to 31st January 2021.
• The nature of these complaints.
• Copies of those complaints with identifying details deleted.
• The number of written complaints of harassment received from staff entering and exiting your abortion facilities for the period 2019 to 31st January 2021.
There are twenty District Health Boards [DHBs] in New Zealand. Responses have been received from seventeen DHBs. All seventeen reveal that they had not received any verbal or written complaints.
These DHBs are:-
Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Canterbury, Capital & Coast, Hawkes Bay, Hutt Valley, Lakes, Manukau, Mid Central, Nelson Marlborough, Northland, South Canterbury, Southern, Taranaki, Waikato, Wairarapa and Waitemata, The Bay of Plenty response also includes the Tauranga Family Planning clinic.
The Mid Central response also includes the Women’s Health Clinic in Palmerston North. The Southern response also includes the Women’s Health Clinic in Invercargill.
This response is highly significant. The response covers a two year period during which an estimated 26.000 abortions were performed in DHB facilities or in facilities of private providers under contract to DHBs. DHBs log all verbal and written complaints. They advise that no verbal or written complaints were received from an estimated 26,000 women who had an abortion during the two years under review. There are also no record of any complaints being received from staff employed at abortion facilities during the same two year period under review.
It is mentioned that a response has not been received from the following DHBs, West Coast, Wanganui and Tairawhiti. The first two DHBs named do not perform abortions and refer all women seeking an abortion to another DHB.
It is contended that If there were no complaints either verbal or in writing from these women seeking an abortion, that there was in fact no intimidation or harassment of these women.
This information has been given to the Health select committee. Right to Life therefore requests that the Committee report this bill back to the House with a recommendation that the Safe Areas Amendment bill does not proceed on the grounds that there is no evidence of complaints of harassment and intimidation of women seeking abortion nor of staff.
Right to Life believes that this bill seeks to address a problem that does not exist.
Right to Life