Right to Life –Oral Submission Thursday 10 October 2019
Right to Life is a national whole of life society that upholds the sanctity of life ethic and the inalienable right to life of every human being from conception to natural death.
Right to Life opposes the Abortion Legislation Bill as we believe that it is fundamentally flawed in that it violates the human rights of women, the unborn and medical practitioners. The objective of this bill is to facilitate the killing of the unborn whose presence is deplorably ignored in this bill.
We are opposed to abortion because it is the deliberate killing of an innocent human being. We support the prohibition of the killing of an innocent human being which is the foundation of the law and of medicine.
The most dangerous place for a New Zealander today is in its mother’s womb. Nearly one in five New Zealanders is killed before they are born. Since the CS&A Act was passed in 1977 more than 520,000 children have been killed before birth in their mother’s womb. In 2017 there were 13,285 abortions reported, that equates to 35 children every day being taken to a hospital or clinic to be killed.
This bill is flawed in that it seeks to remove the child from the protection of the Crimes Act in order that it may be killed as a” reproductive choice for women.”
Right to Life believes that every human being is a unique and unrepeatable miracle of God’s loving creation that at conception is endowed by God with human rights, the foundation right being an inalienable right to life.
Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law and no law of Parliament can make the killing of the child right and acceptable.
Right to Life believes that God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life and mankind must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are intrinsically evil and a crime against humanity.
This is a violation of the rights of the child. The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights states in its preamble that our human rights are inalienable, which means that they may not be taken away from us nor may we give them up. It is a great injustice to remove from the protection of the Crimes Act those unborn who are deemed unwanted and remove them to the health Act in order that they may be killed.
Right to Life believes that human life must be respected and protected absolutely from the moment of conception. From the first moment of the child’s existence, a human being must be recognized as having the rights of a person – among which is the inviolable right of every innocent being to life. Our human rights do not come from Parliament nor are they conferred on us by our mother. It is a grave injustice for this bill to seek to give to mothers the right to decide whether her child has a right to live.
Right to Life requests that the Committee seek to retain the protection of the Crimes Act for the unborn child.
Seek the repeal of section 159 to give legal recognition of the unborn child as a human being endowed at conception with an inalienable right to life.
Recommend to Parliament that open adoption be promoted as a loving choice in preference to abortion.
Right to Life believes that the first duty of the state is to protect the inalienable right to life of every person including the unborn child.
The State has a compelling interest in protecting the unborn child, a future citizen of New Zealand. The unborn child has an absolute right to expect the protection of the State for its life. This bill seeks to reject that responsibility by allowing a woman to kill her child up to 20 weeks gestation for any reason. The inalienable right to life of every innocent human individual is a constitutive element of a civil society and its legislation. It is a crime to kill an innocent human being. Abortion is in the Crimes Act 1961 under Part Five, Crimes against the person, precisely because the law recognises that it is a serious crime to kill an unborn child. Protection for the life of the unborn has been there since 1856 and before that under the common law of England. If today Parliament can remove the unborn child from the protection of the Crimes Act, tomorrow Parliament could move to remove those with dementia and Alzheimer’s in order that they may be killed as a health service.
This bill violates the right to life of the disabled by allowing the killing of disabled children up to birth. The Prime Minister made a public commitment in September 2017 that the current restriction of 20 weeks would be maintained
Right to Life requests that the Committee strongly oppose removing Abortion from the Crimes Act.
Requests that the Committee support the promise made to prohibit the killing of those with Down syndrome and other disabilities after 20 weeks.
Right to Life believes that this bill violates the human rights of women.
Abortion is violence against women. The Crimes Act, sections 182 &183 recognise that abortion is violence against women. This bill seeks to deceive women into believing that abortion is not violence but health care. This bill denies that every woman has a right to be born, how can we attain equality for women when we deny their right to be born?
The bill is highly offensive to women, it seeks to deny that her child is a human being and that is has no rights until it is born and that the state has no interest in protecting her child from violence. It treats the child as the property of the mother for her to dispose of as she sees fit.
This bill exposes women to increased domestic abuse, violence and abandonment.
A study conducted at the Epsom Day Clinic in Auckland in 2007 of women presenting for an abortion found that one third of the women were subject to domestic violence and coercion with threats of abandonment. There is nothing in this bill to protect women from being coerced into having an abortion that she does not want.
Right to Life requests that the Committee seek a change to the bill to:-
Screen women who are subject to coercion.
Retain the protection of the Crimes Act for women from the violence of abortion.
Right to Life believes that the bill violates the rights of fathers.
Every unborn child has a father and a mother. The father has a duty and a right to protect the life of his child from being killed. The child also has a right to the protection of its father from the violence of abortion. There is nothing in this bill that gives any recognition to the rights of the father.
Right to Life believes that the bill violates the conscience rights of medical practitioners.
Medical practitioners treating a pregnant woman know that they are treating two patients, the mother and the child. When a doctor refuses on conscience grounds to participate or facilitate in the killing of the child, his conscience should be respected and protected. The doctor should not be forced to refer the woman to the agency that will facilitate the killing of the child. If this bill is passed with this requirement, it will ultimately result in doctors who refuse to be involved in the killing of unborn patients being driven from the medical profession.
It is noted that the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion appointed by the third Labour government of Bill Rowling in 1975 spent three years receiving written submissions and hearing oral submissions before presenting its report in 1977. The Prime Minister Bill Rowling made a commitment to the nation that his government would implement the findings of the Commission.
In its report to Parliament in 1977 the Royal Commission stated:-
“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 foetus 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 Minister of Justice, Andrew Little in response to an Official Information Act request from Right to Life advised that he had no evidence to support his opinion that the Royal Commission on Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion and Parliament in 1977 were mistaken in recognising the humanity and human rights of the unborn child.
This bill violates the human rights of women, the unborn, fathers, doctors and those who peacefully and lawfully assemble outside abortion facilities to offer compassion and help to women. Women deserve better than this bill.