Media Release 4th January 2020
In campaigning in 2017 Jacinda Ardern said that her government would be the most transparent and accountable government this country has ever seen. If this were true then why is she refusing to answer important questions concerning protecting the lives of our unborn who have Down syndrome and other disabilities?
Right to Life believes that Jacinda Ardern is removing all protection for the lives of the unborn with Down syndrome and other disabilities because she supports the international campaign to eliminate Down syndrome. Her government continues to advocate for an support the search and destroy screening programme for the killing the unborn who have this condition. She should be seen as a real threat to the lives of the disabled unborn.
The Prime Minister, in responding to an Official Information Act request from Right to Life dated 29 November, refused to provide the information sought. The request to the Prime Minister was:-
- In the light of your [Prime Minister’s] public statement to the Downs syndrome community, what evidence do you have to justify revoking the 20 week restriction in the Abortion Legislation Bill?
- Do you have a policy to reinstate the 20 week restriction for abortions for foetal abnormality including Down’s syndrome?
- Do you have a policy to accept that unborn children with a disability including Down syndrome enjoy an equal right to life as do the unborn who do not have a disability?
Her response was, “The first part of your request relates to details in the Abortion Legislation Bill that is currently before a Select Committee.” The second part of your request relates to the functions of the Minister of Justice and I have decided under section 14[b] [ii] of the Act to refer them to the Minister of Justice.
Now Right to Life contends that given Jacinda Ardern’s assurance that she would retain protection for Down Syndrome children after 20 weeks, her betrayal of these children is in our opinion simply outrageous.
It is the view of Right to Life that this response is an unethical breach of the Official Information Act and that the Prime Minister is withholding important information that the community have an absolute right to have. A complaint has now been laid with the Ombudsman.
In 2017 she made a promise to the disability community in response to concerns expressed by the Saving Downs advocacy group that the new abortion bill would remove the current 20 week prohibition and allow abortions up to birth for foetal abnormality. The Prime Minister responded, “They have said till 40 weeks, which is wrong, which is wrong. We have time periods already set out in law, I am not proposing changes to that. I am proposing it comes out of the Crimes Act.”
The Down syndrome community are the most persecuted community in New Zealand. According to information provided by the Minister of Health under the Official Information Act. In 2017 there were only 47 children born with Down syndrome. It is estimated that there were 56 babies with Down syndrome who were killed before birth in 2017. Between 2009 and 2017 it is estimated that 694 children with Down syndrome were killed before birth in abortions in New Zealand. Right to Life calls upon the Prime Minister to honour her commitment to the disability sector and retain the 20 week restriction on the killing of the disabled.
Right to Life