A baby born alive after an unsuccessful late-term abortion was “left gasping without medical assistance for two hours before dying” at a hospital in New Zealand.
The incident follows the passing of the Abortion Legislation Bill introduced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s Government in 2020, which introduced the most extreme abortion law in the world to New Zealand.
Jacinda Ardern has taken credit for the introduction of the new law, telling local media in November 2020 that in regards to the law change, “not only did I take a position, I pursued it and changed the law in Parliament”.
Ardern also voted down the Care of child born after abortion amendment to the Bill, which would have required that “appropriate medical care and treatment” be given to a baby born alive after a failed abortion.
Baby ‘left to die
(The exact dates and names have been withheld to protect privacy).
The incident, in which the child was left without medical attention for two hours after a failed abortion, took place at a hospital in New Zealand and was witnessed by a healthcare student who has since been left traumatised from the ordeal.
The healthcare student, Nicola (not her real name) said that the mother was over 21 weeks pregnant by the time she had the abortion.
“Normally a late-term abortion is performed on babies that have medical issues, but this baby was completely healthy – so instead of using an infanticide injection to stop the heart from beating before expelling the baby from the womb, the mother was just induced”.
Because the baby’s life was not ended before birth using feticide, it was more likely that, at 21 weeks, the baby would survive the abortion. Nicola said this is not uncommon and “in these situations, the baby is just left to die”.
“We wouldn’t do that to an animal. I was horrified” she said.
According to the healthcare worker who witnessed the event, other healthcare staff called the death “sad”, but tried to justify it by saying that the mother had “financial and housing issues”.
“We didn’t empower this woman by leaving her child to suffer and die like that. When she left the hospital, she was still in need of support and help for her situation. All we did was end the life of her baby in a drawn-out and cruel way. It’s actually vile and disgusting that any human would be treated that way” she said.
Amendment to new abortion law voted down
When New Zealand’s new abortion law was being debated last year, National MP for Tamaki, Simon O’Connor, put forward the Care of child born after abortion amendment.
The amendment would have required that, if a baby was born alive following a failed abortion, a qualified health practitioner – or any other health practitioner present at the time the child is born – would have a duty to provide the child with appropriate medical care and treatment.
It would have also required the medical care and treatment of a child born as a result of a failed abortion to be no different than the duty to provide medical care and treatment to a child born other than as a result of an abortion.
The amendment was defeated by 80 votes to 37 with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern voting against the amendment.
Commenting on this case, the author of amendment Simon O’Connor MP, said: “We were told that my amendment was not necessary, yet here we are in a situation with a baby born alive, left to die alone – and it’s just awful.
43% increase in late-term abortions coincides with law change
In 2020, New Zealand saw a 43% increase in late-term abortions – defined as an abortion being performed on a baby between 20 weeks gestation and birth – compared with the previous year.
One of these abortions was performed on a baby that was between 35 and 39 weeks gestation. Pregnancy is generally considered full term at 37 weeks.
However, regarding the data released on late-term abortion, the Ministry of Health noted that “189 abortions had missing values for the estimated duration of pregnancy” and so are not recorded. This indicates that the number of late-term abortions in 2020 could be far higher than reported.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This is a truly tragic case, but one that was entirely predictable. New Zealand’s new abortion law is barbaric and those MPs who voted against an amendment that would require medical treatment for babies born alive after a failed abortion – including Jacinda Ardern- are a disgrace and should be ashamed”.
“O’Connor’s amendment was rejected, at least partially, on the grounds that it was not necessary. Yet it was already known that babies were left to die after failed abortions in other jurisdictions that did not legally require medical care in such instances”.