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New Zealand: MP introduces legislation to create ‘censorship zones’ around abortion clinics

A New Zealand MP is seeking to introduce censorship zones of 150 metres surrounding abortion clinics in the country.

Labour MP, Louisa Wall, has put forward legislation that is expected to be debated this week, which would prevent people from offering help and practical alternatives to abortion outside abortion clinics. 

Wall said: “What [this Bill] does is provide for the establishment of 150 metre safe zones around abortion facilities – the rationale for it is to protect the safety and wellbeing and protect the privacy and dignity of patients and practitioners”.

The Bill will go to a conscience vote, which means that MPs do not have to vote along party lines.

Leader of the ACT Party, David Seymour, has expressed concern about the use of the term “communicate” within the Bill. The Bill would make it illegal to communicate with a person in a censorship zone “in a manner that an ordinary reasonable person would know would cause emotional distress to a protected person”.

Seymour said: “We object to the [word] communicate”.

“Once you give a Minister the ability to put restrictions on communication, you’re going down a very dark route”.

Another attempt to introduce censorship zones

Pro-abortion MPs in New Zealand had sought to introduce criminalised free speech zones when they initially voted in an extreme abortion regime in the country last year.

However, they accidentally allowed an amendment preventing the establishment of “buffer zones” to pass unchallenged and without a vote.

The Green Party failed in its attempt to reverse a mistake that resulted in criminalised free speech zones, which prevent pro-life help from being offered outside abortion clinics, being excluded from the legislation.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson had attempted to reverse their mistake and reintroduce the measure, but MPs voted 77 to 43 against it.

The new bill is expected to receive a First Reading this week before needing to pass a number of other stages before it becomes law.

Censorship zones in the UK

There have been multiple attempts to introduce similar censorship zones outside abortion clinics in the UK too. Earlier this month, councillors in Scotland decided to back a campaign seeking to introduce censorship legislation around an abortion clinic in the capital.

In England and Wales, a bill to introduce censorship zones, which was brought forward by Rupa Huq MP, failed to pass through the Commons at its Second Reading in September.

In 2018, Sajid Javid announced that the Home Office could not find adequate reason to introduce censorship zones, stating: “[…] introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature. In making my decision, I am also aware that legislation already exists to restrict protest activities that cause harm to others”.

Opposition to censorship zones

Opposition to censorship zones extends beyond pro-life advocates to unite a large part of society, that may not agree with the pro-life position on abortion but opposes censorship zones as a threat to freedom of speech.

Despite supporting abortion, a number of prominent human rights groups and campaigners have spoken out against the introduction of censorship zones. This includes Peter Tatchell, the Manifesto Club, Big Brother Watch, Index on Censorship and the Freedom Association.

Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “New Zealand, like the UK, already has laws prohibiting intimidation and harassment. If this sort of behaviour takes place outside abortion clinics, or indeed anywhere else, the accused party could, and should, be fully investigated, and convicted if found guilty, under the law as it currently exists. This law essentially criminalises speaking with people about abortion outside abortion clinics. It would be an instance of the state determining criminalising not only free expression but also offers of assistance”.

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Dear reader,

Thanks to the support of people like you, on Monday 5 July, a major attempt to hijack the UK Government’s flagship Police , Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill with two extreme abortion proposals failed, in a major pro-life victory.

Unfortunately, this major defeat is not the end for our opposition.

The abortion lobby has already been successful at using the Coronavirus crisis to temporarily introduce ‘DIY’ home abortions.

The policy has not only accompanied a large increase in the number of lives ended by abortion but has also been linked to a number of serious incidents where women’s lives have been put at risk while performing their abortion at home.

Our opposition is now eager to see more widespread changes to legislation enacted and we are currently facing major threats on three fronts:

  1. The abortion lobby is further exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to attempt to make dangerous ‘DIY’ home abortions available permanently.
  2. The Northern Ireland Secretary has given himself new powers to force expanded abortion services on Northern Ireland.
  3. The assisted suicide lobby has brought foward a bill to legalise assisted suicide, which was introduced to the House of Lords on 26 May.

If these major threats from our opposition are successful, it would be a disaster. Thousands of lives would be lost. We can’t sit on the sidelines and watch these extreme anti-life changes become a reality.

As you can see, while we have won our most recent battle, we continue to be facing a very large challenge on life issues in the UK over the next couple of months – and we will be facing this across multiple fronts.

We are, therefore, appealing to you to please give as generously as you can. Every donation, no matter how small, will go towards saving the lives of the unborn and many others.

By stopping these threats, YOU can save lives over this coming period.

Will you make a special gift right now to help protect vulnerable lives from these threats?

Q

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    Q

    Be the first to know…

    When you sign up for email updates from us, you will be receiving:

    Action alerts on the latest pro-life developments along with tools to help you change hearts and minds

    Opportunities to help protect and defend more lives

    Where should we send your updates?

      By clicking submit, you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms below.

      Right To Life UK will use the information you provide on this form to keep in touch with you and to provide updates. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at info@righttolife.org.uk. We will treat your information with respect. For more information about our privacy practices please see our Privacy Policy.

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