Pro-life demonstration held against extreme abortion legislation in New Zealand

Over 1,000 people took part in a pro-life demonstration in New Zealand against the extreme abortion legislation passed by the Labour Government earlier this year.

Campaigners participating in the Christchurch March for Life carried signs reading “Both Lives Matter” and “Love them Both”.

Earlier this year, New Zealand MPs voted to introduce the most severe abortion law in the world by 68 votes to 51.

The new law scraps the previous 20-week limit and will allow terminations on-demand, for any reason, up to birth.

Additionally, there is now no requirement doctors must be involved with an abortion ‘procedure’ and MPs – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – voted against an amendment requiring medical care for babies born alive after a ‘failed’ termination.

The new law has also legalised sex-selective abortion.

New proposals could deny pregnant women practical and emotional support

Now, just four-months after introducing the extreme abortion law, a New Zealand Labour MP has introduced a Bill to make it even worse.

Labour MP Louisa Wall’s Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill would deny women practical and emotional support outside abortion clinics.

The proposal states this will be done through the creation of so-called “safe areas” up to 150 metres from any part of an abortion facility, with a fine of up to $1,000 for anyone deemed to be breaking the rules.

New Zealanders ignored

In light of extremely low public support and falling support from MPs, Jacinda Ardern’s Government rushed the final stages of the Bill’s progress through Parliament while politicians, the media and the rest of the country were distracted dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

This included progressing the final sitting of the committee stage and the Bill’s third and final reading through parliament on the same day.

Polling conducted by Curia Research, revealed strong opposition to the new law by the public in New Zealand, and in particular by women.

Only 2% of women said they support abortion being available on-demand right up to birth. Meanwhile,  93% of women opposed sex-selective abortion being legal and 94% of women supported the previous legal standards for abortion providers and premises.

In addition, over 40,000 New Zealanders signed a petition urging the Government to hold a referendum, giving citizens an opportunity to repeal the extreme law.

To put this in perspective, if New Zealand had the same population as the UK, and the same proportion of the population signed the petition, this would equate to well over 500,000 signatures.

The petition’s author, Pamela McIlwraith, has said: “In my view the abortion legislation was rushed through Parliament while the entire country was distracted with COVID-19.

“I think there needs to be a referendum so the people can have their say—MPs should not be able to vote against giving the people their say in such important matters, especially a law legalising full term abortion.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern under fire

Ahead of the election, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been criticised by an MP for supporting the introduction of extreme abortion legislation.

Responding to recent comments Ardern made that New Zealand could be doing more to improve infant mortality, Whanganui MP Harete Hipango said the “hypocrisy is astounding,” given the Prime Minister supported the Abortion Legislation Bill. 

In a Facebook post last month, Hipango stated, “This recent stance by the PM is rank and riles me as a woman who is a mother and has also advocated for children’s welfare all my professional working life as a lawyer.” 

With the 2020 election just several weeks away, Labour MP and Justice Minister Andrew Little leapt to Jacinda’s defence and said there was “no such thing as full-term abortion, people who say that are idiots.”

However, National list party MP Agnes Loheni, who was on the select committee for the abortion legislation, said the legislation “definitely” supports abortion up to birth.

“What is written in our legislation definitely supports that you could have an abortion post 20 weeks up to birth. If you look at the words yourself – there are no hoops to jump through because it is so broad and ill-defined. In my view the unborn child now is the equivalent of having an appendix removed,” she said.

She added that many MP’s who were for the bill changed their vote on the third reading because they felt uncomfortable with the “loose terms around the criteria for late term abortions”.

Hipango was also supported in her comments against the Labour Prime Minister by fellow National MP, Simon O’Connor. In the comment section of Hipango’s Facebook post, O’Connor said the Government had “pushed through” the law ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown and that aborting a full-term baby “sure has” been legalised.

Anti-euthanasia billboards stolen and vandalised in New Zealand, as major campaign launches questioning proposals

Billboards across New Zealand urging Kiwis to question whether the introduction of assisted suicide legislation would be safe have been vandalised by activists.

A major advertising campaign, launched by grassroots campaign group VoteSafe.nz, has seen hundreds of signs put up across the country in prominent and high profile locations.  

However, a number of those signs have now either been stolen or vandalised.

A hoarding in Glenfield has now been stolen multiple times while others have been targeted with spray paint. Each time, the billboards were up for a maximum of 48 hours before being vandalised again – likely overnight.

VoteSafe.nz campaign manager, Henoch Kloosterboer, told 1 News that while he was disappointed with the damage, he wasn’t surprised.

“We are hoping that the signs will encourage people to be fully informed before they cast their vote in this binding referendum,” Mr Kloosterboer said.

“We’re passionate about health and wellbeing, and leaving a better, safer New Zealand for future generations. Our goal is to debunk misinformation and to help Kiwis make a truly informed vote when it comes to this binding referendum.”

‘Actions speak louder than words’

Responding to the vandalism, National MP Simon O’Connor went further and said: “Just remember when reading this, that those attacking these billboards are the same people who will say to you that there will be no coercion, no pressure, no bullying, no pushing of their agenda on to the sick, disabled, or elderly.”

He added: “Yeah, right – their actions speak far louder than words.”

First country in the world to put euthanasia to a referendum

New Zealand will become the first country in the world to put euthanasia to a binding public vote, after lawmakers approved a bill laying out what the country’s assisted suicide regime would be last year.

The End of Life Choice Act passed narrowly by 69 votes to 51, ending years of parliamentary debate on assisted suicide following two recent defeats.

The drastic change in law, which will allow assisted dying or euthanasia if certain eligibility criteria are met, will come into effect if the people of New Zealand approve it in a referendum ahead of the country’s 2020 election, which is currently due to take place between 3 – 17 October.

Legal risk lawyers and healthcare professionals have expressed deep concern with the proposed legislation and its lack of safeguards.

These include, no assessment to check individuals aren’t being coerced into assisted dying or euthanasia, no mental health checks and concerns about pressure to choose death due to lack of options and a possible lack of access to good palliative care.

In addition, both the World Medical Association and New Zealand Medical Association are opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Over 1,660 New Zealand doctors have come together to form the ‘Doctors Say No’ movement opposing a law change in New Zealand.

In their open letter to New Zealanders, they urge Kiwis to “leave doctors to focus on saving lives and providing real care to the dying.”

Hospice New Zealand, which provides end of life palliative care, also opposes and disagrees with the intent of the Act.

The group is particularly concerned that individuals with a terminal illness may feel pressured to choose death.

Vocal opposition

There has also been very vocal opposition to the proposed change in law.

A record 39,000 public submissions were made while lawmakers were considering the matter, with 90% of submitters opposed to it.

A number of individuals have also come forward to explain why they oppose assisted suicide and euthanasia.

‘Lack of support’

Claire Freeman, who was involved in a car accident causing her to become tetraplegic, has spoken out forcefully against the assisted suicide.

In a short documentary for #DefendNZ, Claire revealed that after attempting suicide more than once health professionals “encouraged [her] to explore assisted suicide”.

During her recuperation in hospital, Claire realised “being offered assisted suicide instead of suicide support was disturbing.”

She added: “I had been told ‘if I was in your position, with your disability, I wouldn’t want to live’ by the very health professionals who are there to help suicide survivors… I realised my biggest problem had been my mindset and a lack of proper support.”

Woman with terminal cancer wants her vote against assisted suicide to count

Vicki Walsh was told in June 2011 her brain cancer diagnosis was terminal and she only had 12 to 14 months to live.

However, now aged 53, Walsh has had nine more years of life since.

Revealing to Newshub why she’s against a change in legislation, Vicki said those additional years of life may not have happened if the choice of assisted dying had been available because she would’ve taken it.

“Obviously euthanasia wasn’t an option, but I had a go at killing myself. So had euthanasia been an option then, it is probably one I would have taken, not realising I was actually depressed,” she said.

Up until then, she had always believed people should have the choice of assisted dying, saying it was, ‘My body, my choice’. But after her suicide attempt, her views changed.

Now, she is enjoying life with her family and hopes to live long enough to have her say against assisted dying.

“I don’t want to rob my children that one smile or one kiss… I’m hoping, really hoping, that I will get my vote in and make my vote count,” she said.

‘This law is not safe’

Dr Huhana Hickey, a human rights lawyer with Multiple sclerosis, says: “I don’t believe this law is safe for the disability community, for the Māori community or for anyone who has a risk factor in their lives.”

New Zealand PM criticised for supporting abortion up to birth as election race heats up

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has been criticised by an MP for supporting the introduction of a Bill allowing abortion on-demand, for any reason, up to birth.

Responding to recent comments Ardern made that New Zealand could be doing more to improve infant mortality, Whanganui MP Harete Hipango said the “hypocrisy is astounding” given the Prime Minister supported the Abortion Legislation Bill. 

In a Facebook post on Monday, Hipango stated, “This recent stance by the PM is rank and riles me as a woman who is a mother and has also advocated for children’s welfare all my professional working life as a lawyer.” 

With the 2020 election just seven weeks away, Labour MP and Justice Minister Andrew Little leapt to Jacinda’s defence and said there was “no such thing as full-term abortion, people who say that are idiots.”

Andrew Little repeatedly used the same tactic when the Bill was progressing through Parliament earlier this year. Rather than admitting that the Bill did allow abortion through to birth and evidence from Victoria, Australia, where there is a similar law, shows 1,418 late-term abortions (between 20-weeks’ gestation and birth) have been performed, allowed by doctors for ‘psychosocial’ reasons with one of these occurring at 37 weeks gestation, he has continued to repeat the line that there is “no such things as full term-abortion.” 

National list party MP Agnes Loheni, who was on the select committee for the abortion legislation, said the legislation “definitely” supports abortion up to birth.

“What is written in our legislation definitely supports that you could have an abortion post 20 weeks up to birth. If you look at the words yourself – there are no hoops to jump through because it is so broad and ill-defined. In my view the unborn child now is the equivalent of having an appendix removed,” she said.

She added that many MP’s who were for the bill changed their vote on the third reading because they felt uncomfortable with the “loose terms around the criteria for late term abortions”.

Hipango was also supported in her comments against the Labour Prime Minister by fellow National MP, Simon O’Connor.

In the comment section of Hipango’s Facebook post, O’Connor said the Government had “pushed through” the law ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown and that aborting a full-term baby “sure has” been legalised.

Extreme abortion regime

Earlier this year, New Zealand MPs voted to introduce the world’s most severe abortion law in the world by 68 votes to 51.

The new law scraps the previous 20-week limit and will allow terminations on-demand, for any reason, up to birth.

Additionally, there is now no requirement doctors must be involved with an abortion ‘procedure’ and MPs – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – voted against an amendment requiring medical care for babies born alive after a ‘failed’ termination.

The new law has also legalised sex-selective abortion.

New proposals could deny pregnant women practical and emotional support

Four-months after introducing the extreme abortion law, a New Zealand Labour MP has introduced a Bill to make it even worse.

Labour MP Louisa Wall‘s Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill would deny women practical and emotional support outside abortion clinics.

The proposal states this will be done through the creation of so-called “safe areas” up to 150 metres from any part of an abortion facility, with a fine of up to $1,000 for anyone deemed to be breaking the rules.

New Zealanders ignored

In light of extremely low public support and falling support from MPs, Jacinda Ardern’s Government rushed the final stages of the Abortion Bill’s progress through Parliament while politicians, the media and the rest of the country were distracted dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

This included progressing the final sitting of the committee stage and the Bill’s third and final reading through parliament on the same day.

Polling, conducted by Curia Research revealed strong opposition to the new law by the public in New Zealand, and in particular by women.

Only 2% of women said they support abortion being available on-demand right up to birth. Meanwhile, 93% of women opposed sex-selective abortion being legal and 94% of women supported the previous legal standards for abortion providers and premises.

However, despite the extremities of the new law and little public support for the regulations, MPs voted to deny the public a final say on the legislation.

Additionally, over 40,000 New Zealanders have signed a petition urging the Government to hold a referendum giving the people of New Zealand an opportunity to repeal the extreme abortion legislation which passed earlier this year.

To put this in perspective, if New Zealand had the same population as the UK, and the same proportion of the population signed the petition this would equate to well over 500,000 signatures.

The petition’s author, Pamela McIlwraith, has said: “In my view the abortion legislation was rushed through Parliament while the entire country was distracted with COVID-19.

“I think there needs to be a referendum so the people can have their say—MPs should not be able to vote against giving the people their say in such important matters, especially a law legalising full term abortion.”

Most extreme abortion law in the world 

Canada is the only country in the world that has no abortion law, as their law was struck down by a case brought to their Supreme Court in 1988.

Amongst the rest of the jurisdictions in the world that have abortion legislation, Victoria, Australia, previously had the most extreme law.

The law in Victoria allows for abortion right through to birth on physical, psychological and social grounds when approved by two doctors; this can be the abortion operating surgeon and anaesthetist.

This has, in practice, allowed for abortion on demand, for any reason, right through to birth in Victoria, Australia.

Ahead of the legislation being introduced in Victoria in 2008, abortion activists claimed that, although abortion would, in practice, be allowed for any reason, doctors would ensure that the vast majority of abortions would only occur in rare circumstances. Such cases may involve when a baby has a condition where they would either die in the womb or shortly after birth (a fatal foetal abnormality or life-limiting disability) – similar claims were made about the NZ abortion legislation by abortion campaigners and MPs in New Zealand before it became law.

Data from the 12 years of the law being in operation in Victoria, shows that this has not been the case. Right To Life UK’s Public Affairs team have undertaken an extensive analysis of published abortion data on late-term abortions in Victoria from The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality.

This data shows that since the law changed in 2008, 1,418 late-term abortions (between 20-weeks’ gestation and birth) have been performed, allowed by doctors for ‘psychosocial’ reasons – these were terminations where the baby did not have a disability and the abortion was performed on social grounds. In 2011, one of these abortions on social grounds occurred at 37 weeks.

Under the previous New Zealand law, abortion was allowed post-20 weeks on very strict grounds (when the abortion is “necessary to save the life of the woman or girl or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health”). 

This strict law has meant that abortions post 20-weeks have been rare – for example 72 abortions occurred after 20-weeks in New Zealand in 2017. 

Victoria has a population that is only 32% larger than New Zealand’s, but the number of abortions that occurred post 20-weeks were much higher, 324 or 348.61% higher than the number that occurred in New Zealand that same year (published data for Victoria has not been released for 2018 yet).

Another side effect of the very high late-term abortion rate in Australia is that scores of babies have been left to die after being born alive during a number of ‘botched’ terminations.

The Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity reported that in 2012 there were 53 ‘terminations of pregnancy’ after 20 weeks ‘resulting in live birth’. 

By contrast, a 2008 report for England and Wales found that 66 infants were born alive after NHS terminations in one year. While these figures are comparable in number, Victoria’s population of 6.36 million is just a tenth of the size of the population in England and Wales.

A Channel 7 news broadcast, on April 17 2010, reported that there had been a large increase in late-term abortions being performed at the Royal Women’s Hospital since the introduction of the 2008 Abortion Law Reform. Presenter Jennifer Keyte stated how “midwives and doctors feel traumatised” by having to perform so many late-term abortions at the Royal Women’s Hospital. Journalist Louise Milligan said that there had been some ‘alarming requests’ for late-term abortions, including a request for a termination at 32 weeks because the baby had a cleft lip. 

The new abortion law in New Zealand is even more extreme than the law in Victoria, Australia – making it the most extreme abortion law in the world.It allows abortions between 20-weeks’ gestation and birth with the go-ahead from just two health practitioners (this could include nurses and midwives) rather than the higher threshold of two doctors that are required in Victoria.While the legislation in New Zealand was progressing through parliament, the Abortion Legislation Committee widened the, already loose, criteria to include “overall well-being” – making it even easier for abortions to happen between 20 weeks and birth in New Zealand. These are undefined terms and it will be up to the healthcare practitioner involved as to how they interpret them.

New Zealand could make world’s most extreme abortion law even worse

Four-months after introducing the world’s most extreme abortion law, a New Zealand Labour MP has introduced a Bill to make it even worse.

Labour MP Louisa Wall‘s Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill would deny women practical and emotional support outside abortion clinics.

The proposal states this will be done through the creation of so-called “safe areas” up to 150 metres from any part of an abortion facility, with a fine of up to $1,000 for anyone deemed to be breaking the rules.

‘Criminalised free speech zones’ would effectively ban volunteers from offering support to women entering abortion clinics and hospitals across New Zealand. They would also ban individuals from peacefully praying in the vicinity of clinics.

Similar proposals in the UK were rejected by the British Government following an extensive review and have seen widespread opposition beyond pro-life advocates to a large part of society, which may not agree on the pro-life position on abortion, but oppose censorship zones because they infringe on free speech.

A number of prominent human rights groups and campaigners, all of whom support abortion, have also 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.

Another attempt to deny women support

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 earlier this 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 will be introduced to Parliament where it will face a First Reading before needing to pass a number of other stages before it becomes law.

Pro-abortion MPs will be hoping this process can be completed before the election on 19 September 2020.

Extreme abortion regime

On 18 March, New Zealand MPs voted to introduce the world’s most severe abortion law in the world by 68 votes to 51 – a much narrower margin than at the first and second reading.

The new law scraps the previous 20-week limit and will allow terminations on-demand, for any reason, up to birth.

Additionally, there is now no requirement doctors must be involved with an abortion ‘procedure’ and MPs – including Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – voted against an amendment requiring medical care for babies born alive after a ‘failed’ termination.

The new law has also legalised sex-selective abortion.

New Zealanders ignored

In light of extremely low public support and falling support from MPs, Jacinda Ardern’s Government rushed the final stages of the Bill’s progress through Parliament while politicians, the media and the rest of the country were distracted dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

This included progressing the final sitting of the committee stage and the Bill’s third and final reading through parliament on the same day.

Polling, conducted by Curia Research revealed strong opposition to the new law by the public in New Zealand, and in particular by women.

Only 2% of women said they support abortion being available on-demand right up to birth. Meanwhile, 93% of women opposed sex-selective abortion being legal and 94% of women supported the previous legal standards for abortion providers and premises.

However, despite the extremities of the new law and little public support for the regulations, MPs voted to deny the public a final say on the legislation.

Additionally, over 40,000 New Zealanders have signed a petition urging the Government to hold a referendum giving the people of New Zealand an opportunity to repeal the extreme abortion legislation which passed earlier this year.

To put this in perspective, if New Zealand had the same population as the UK, and the same proportion of the population signed the petition this would equate to well over 500,000 signatures.

The petition’s author, Pamela McIlwraith, has said: “In my view the abortion legislation was rushed through Parliament while the entire country was distracted with COVID-19.

“I think there needs to be a referendum so the people can have their say—MPs should not be able to vote against giving the people their say in such important matters, especially a law legalising full term abortion.”

Most extreme abortion law in the world 

Canada is the only country in the world that has no abortion law, as their law was struck down by a case brought to their Supreme Court in 1988.

Amongst the rest of the jurisdictions in the world that have abortion legislation, Victoria, Australia, previously had the most extreme law.

The law in Victoria allows for abortion right through to birth on physical, psychological and social grounds when approved by two doctors; this can be the abortion operating surgeon and anaesthetist.

This has, in practice, allowed for abortion on demand, for any reason, right through to birth in Victoria, Australia.

Ahead of the legislation being introduced in Victoria in 2008, abortion activists claimed that, although abortion would, in practice, be allowed for any reason, doctors would ensure that the vast majority of abortions would only occur in rare circumstances, such as when a baby had a condition where they would either die in the womb or shortly after birth (a fatal foetal abnormality or life-limiting disability) – similar claims were made about theNZ abortion legilsation by abortion campaigners and MPs in New Zealand before it became law.

Data from the 12 years of the law being in operation in Victoria shows that this has not been the case. Right To Life UK’s Public Affairs team have undertaken an extensive analysis of published abortion data on late-term abortions in Victoria from The Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality.

This data shows that since the law changed in 2008, 1,418 late-term abortions (between 20-weeks’ gestation and birth) have been performed, allowed by doctors for ‘psychosocial’ reasons – these were terminations where the baby did not have a disability and the abortion was performed on social grounds. In 2011, one of these abortions on social grounds occurred at 37 weeks.

Under the previous New Zealand law, abortion was allowed post-20 weeks on very strict grounds (when the abortion is “necessary to save the life of the woman or girl or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health”). 

This strict law has meant that abortions post 20-weeks have been rare – for example 72 abortions occurred after 20-weeks in New Zealand in 2017. 

Victoria has a population that is only 32% larger than New Zealand’s, but the number of abortions that occurred post 20-weeks were much higher, 324 or 348.61% higher than the number that occurred in New Zealand that same year (published data for Victoria has not been released for 2018 yet).

Another side effect of the very high late-term abortion rate in Australia is that scores of babies have been left to die after being born alive during a number of ‘botched’ terminations.

The Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity reported that in 2012 there were 53 ‘terminations of pregnancy’ after 20 weeks ‘resulting in live birth’. 

By contrast, a 2008 report for England and Wales found that 66 infants were born alive after NHS terminations in one year. While these figures are comparable in number, Victoria’s population of 6.36 million is just a tenth of the size of the population in England and Wales.

A Channel 7 news broadcast, on April 17 2010, reported that there had been a large increase in late-term abortions being performed at the Royal Women’s Hospital since the introduction of the 2008 Abortion Law Reform. Presenter Jennifer Keyte stated how “midwives and doctors feel traumatised” by having to perform so many late-term abortions at the Royal Women’s Hospital. Journalist Louise Milligan said that there had been some ‘alarming requests’ for late-term abortions, including a request for a termination at 32 weeks because the baby had a cleft lip. 

The new abortion law in New Zealand is even more extreme than the law in Victoria, Australia – making it the most extreme abortion law in the world.

It allows abortions between 20-weeks’ gestation and birth with the go-ahead from just two health practitioners (this could include nurses and midwives) rather than the higher threshold of two doctors that are required in Victoria.While the legislation in New Zealand was progressing through parliament, the Abortion Legislation Committee widened the, already loose, criteria to include “overall well-being” – making it even easier for abortions to happen between 20 weeks and birth in New Zealand. These are undefined terms and it will be up to the healthcare practitioner involved as to how they interpret them.