NZ deputy-PM elected on pro-life vote, introduces world’s most extreme abortion law

Voters in New Zealand are calling on their Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the New Zealand First Party, Winston Peters, who was elected on a ‘values’ and pro-life vote in the last general election, to withdraw his bill which will introduce the world’s most extreme abortion law to New Zealand.

Ahead of the 2017 New Zealand election, Winston Peters cornered the ‘values’ and pro-life vote making it clear to voters that his New Zealand First Party would not ‘decriminalise’ abortion (introduce an extreme abortion law allowing abortion up to birth)  and that they would support a change to the law to state that the unborn child has a right to life; to improve informed consent during the abortion process, and to implement parental notification for girls aged 15 and under seeking abortions. This reinforced a clear long-standing position which had been communicated to voters over a number of years. 

Once in Government, Winston Peters has joined his coalition partner in bringing forward a bill to introduce the most extreme abortion legislation in the world – which would allow abortion on demand, for any reason, up to birth – to the New Zealand Parliament.

This bill is very much his bill. He had his MP, Tracey Martin, work on co-writing the bill, along with the Justice Minister, over an eight-month period. Then his cabinet, in which he is the number two ranked minister, signed off on the bill.

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, currently has 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 disabiity) – similar claims are currently now being made about the proposed NZ abortion law by abortion campaigners and MPs in New Zealand.

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 occured at 37 weeks.

Under New Zealand law currently, abortion is 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 are 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, 323 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 report, 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 traumatized” 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 hare lip. 

The Abortion Legislation Bill that Winston Peters’ Government has introduced, is even more extreme than the law in Victoria, Australia – making it the most extreme abortion law in the world.

It would allow 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.

In the proposed legislation in New Zealand, the Abortion Legislation Committee have now 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 health practitioner involved as to how they interpret them.

In addition to introducing abortion on demand, for any reason up to birth, the bill will also make the following extreme changes to New Zealand abortion law:

HOW WINSTON PETERS AND NZ FIRST CORNERED THE ‘VALUES’ AND PRO-LIFE VOTE

Winston Peters has carefully targeted the ‘values’ and pro-life vote over a long period of time leading up to the 2017 election. This included speaking at Family First’s high-profile Forum on the Family event along with consistently brandishing his pro-life credentials with ‘100% pro-life on abortion’ ratings in a number of leader questionnaires on life issues.

The results of these questionnaires have been circulated in Value Your Vote guides to tens of thousands of households across New Zealand and positioned his party as the one to elect for this part of the voting public.

In the 2017 Value Your Vote guide issued ahead of the 2017 election, Peters stated that he took the following position on abortion:

  • Opposed the ‘decriminalisation’ of abortion (introduce an extreme abortion law allowing abortion up to birth). 
  • Supported a change in law to state that the unborn child has a right to life.
  • Supported introducing abortion informed consent legislation, to improve the informed consent during the abortion process.
  • Supported introducing abortion parental notification legislation, to implement parental notification for girls aged 15 and under seeking abortions. 

He provided similar responses in earlier questionnaires which were published in previous guides going back a number of years, including a 100%/ ‘four smiles’ rating on abortion/pro-life issues in 2014.

This position was mirrored in a 2014 interview on stage at the high profile Forum on the Family election event where Winston Peters said:

  • Life starts at conception.
  • That he did not support decriminalising abortion (introducing an extreme abortion law to New Zealand).
    • “Do you support the Green’s policy of ‘decriminalising’ abortion? No we don’t.”
  • That he supported parental notification for a girl 15 years or younger to obtain an abortion.

This was reinforced by Tracey Martin, who represented Winston Peters and NZ First on stage at the 2017 Forum on the Family election event where Martin confirmed that the party supported keeping abortion in the Crimes Act (not ‘decriminalising’ abortion) and that the party supported introducing abortion parental notification legislation.

The pro-life and ‘values’ vote in New Zealand can have a significant impact for smaller parties that successfully corner it. In recent years, New Zealand First has positioned itself as the only electable party which has taken a clear moderate pro-life position, seeking to oppose ‘decriminalisation’ and introduce new incremental abortion restrictions. This was especially important to many voters ahead of the 2017 election as the Labour Party was pledging to ‘decriminalise’ abortion, and NZ First had made it clear to voters that they would not support ‘decriminalisation’ and wanted to see abortion laws further restricted.

There could be a big move of these voters post-election away from New Zealand First if Winston does not withdraw his bill.


REFERENDUM AMENDMENT CLAIMS

Winston Peters has hidden behind claims that he will introduce a referendum amendment at Committee stage of the bill to give New Zealanders a say on whether this extreme bill becomes law. 

This appears to have been a move to try and stop voters from leaving the party; the problem with this approach is that it will not be part of the core bill, and he does not have the support of sufficient numbers for it to pass.

If he was serious about letting the New Zealand public have a say on whether this bill becomes law, he would have insisted that his Government include a provision guaranteeing a referendum on this issue in the body of the original bill, but this was not included.

Polling from Curia research shows only 4% of the New Zealand population support introducing abortion up to birth. This is a bill designed to appeal to a tiny minority of abortion zealots, not the vast majority of sensible New Zealanders who find the idea of late-term abortions inhumane and barbaric.

Winston Peters’ Government is in control of the passage of this bill and has the power to withdraw the bill.

Right To Life UK is encouraging the public to sign a petition calling on Winston Peters to immediately withdraw his Government’s Abortion Legislation Bill. Click here to sign the petition now.

A number of NZ First voters who Right To Life UK have spoken to said they were outraged about Winston bringing forward the bill and stated that they would never be voting for his party again if he did not urgently get his Government to withdraw the Abortion Legislation Bill.

Kieran Udy, New Zealand First Party member and voter from Whanganui, said:

“I’ve been a Winston voter all my life and I am a member of NZ First Party. However, given he has brought forward this extreme abortion bill, I don’t know who I’ll be voting for at the next election, but it definitely won’t be Winston. In fact, my whole family voted for him but that won’t happen again.”

Sarah Assen, New Zealand First voter from Rotorua, said:

“Winston made it clear that he wanted to restrict, not liberalise, our abortion laws ahead of the election. I voted for him because of this. Many people in my church were very worried about Labour’s pledge to liberalise abortion laws, so voted for Winston because he had made his conservative position on abortion clear.

He has now gone on to introduce this extreme abortion bill. He has totally betrayed us voters.

As a voter I am also appalled that Winston is insulting the intelligence of us voters by saying he is going to bring forward a referendum amendment at Committee Stage and this amendment has any chance of becoming part of the Bill. If he was serious about ensuring a referendum on the bill, he would have made it part of the original bill. This is just him trying to distract his supporters from the real issue here, how extreme his bill is.

If Winston Peters does not scrap his Abortion Legislation Bill, I will definitely not be voting for him in the next election. I have spoken to a number of other friends who voted for his party in the last election and they have said exactly the same.”


Mother given ‘forced abortion’ in China granted refuge in New Zealand, after harrowing story

A Chinese mother who was given a forced abortion after falling pregnant with her third child have finally been granted refugee status in New Zealand.

The mother – along with her husband, her 19-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son – appealed to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal after their initial decision to grant refugee protection was refused last year.

The family’s story highlights how China’s former one-child policy and current two-child policy continue to leave a painful legacy, and have been responsible for countless abortions in the world’s most populous country.

The pair married in China in 2008, having met in December 2000. The wife already had a daughter from her first marriage.

In April 2010, the mother of two discovered she was pregnant with another child, a boy.

Under Chinese law, the pair had to pay “a large sum of money” for a birth permit to have the second child. He was born in February 2011 and the family paid further money to register him.

After the son’s birth, Government officials regularly visited the couple’s home from 2010 to 2016, demanding the husband and wife write and sign a pledge agreeing to have no more children.

When they refused, the couple revealed, officials would threaten and insult them.

In addition to intimidating visits to the home, the husband’s employer also exerted pressure on him to not have further children. The state-owned company told the husband he had to either agree to have no more children or resign.

When he refused to do either, the company reduced his income to the minimum wage and subjected him to further harassment, which led him to resign.

In December 2015, the wife discovered she was pregnant with a third child. The news was received with “much joy” by the family.

However, Government officials soon found out and visited the family home to demand that the mother of two have an abortion. 

Court documents note that officials “pushed and prodded the wife and told her she was a pig for wanting so many children,” causing her to faint.

Shortly afterward, she began to experience heavy bleeding and went to the hospital fearing the worst.

Doctors and nurses treated the couple coldly after they learned it was her third pregnancy. They failed to undertake any scans or other tests to check on the health of the baby or to see if there was a heartbeat.

Instead, the wife was taken into theatre and was told she was having an operation to “remove the remainder of the foetus”

Due to the trauma of the event, the wife has trouble remembering what happened next but remembers seeing her baby being sucked out a tube and into a drainage pipe during the operation.

She doesn’t know if her baby was alive at the time or had miscarried.

However, neither she or her husband signed any consent forms for the procedure and believe officials directly or indirectly killed their child.

The Tribunal is satisfied that the events at the hospital amount to serious harm in the form of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and has resulted in psychological damage for the wife.

It found that the family had a well-founded fear of being persecuted if made to return to China and ruled that as refugees they cannot be deported.

The family can remain in New Zealand for the foreseeable future, but have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant again, since they lost their third child.  

Although China’s brutal one-child policy was ended in 2015, it has now been replaced by a similarly draconian two-choice policy and the devastating consequences of forced abortions, sterilizations, abandoned newborns, and Government abductions are still ongoing.

Chinese-born filmmakers Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang exposed some of the consequences of the policy by retelling some of the stories of some of those who lived through it. 

Early on in their One Child Nation documentary, which can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video, an 84-year-old midwife revealed she was unsure how many babies she had delivered, but had performed a total of between 50,000 to 60,000 sterilizations and abortions.

“I counted this out of guilt, because I aborted and killed babies,” the midwife, Huaru Yuan, continues. “Many I induced alive and killed. My hands trembled doing it.”

One mother in China told the BBC that she would have liked a second child but was also forced to have an abortion.

She said: “You either go willingly or they come for you.”

Another mother told the BBC, that before the one-child policy was relaxed, she was forced to have an abortion. Speaking of the ordeal she said: “My baby didn’t die immediately… it kept on struggling inside me.

“It broke my heart, the next day it was born still alive… it cried. The doctor said don’t look at it, you’ll have nightmares.”

(Image credit: Shutterstock: ID #703730317)

New Zealand’s tiniest baby to celebrate first birthday against the odds, after parents reject abortion

A baby girl given just a 30% chance of survival has beaten the odds and will soon celebrate her first birthday after her parents rejected abortion.

Amairah Makan weighed just 490g when she was born by emergency caesarean section at 29 weeks, making her one of New Zealand’s tiniest babies to survive premature birth.

The Auckland tot is now healthy and happy, though nearly half the average weight for her age at just under 5kg, as she approaches her first birthday on 25 February.

Amairah’s mother and father, Kainat and Piyush, were told at the 20-week pregnancy ultrasound scan that their daughter wasn’t growing and that the baby’s prognosis “didn’t look good“.

At that point, doctors told the first-time parents they faced either a delivery at 30 weeks or a stillbirth and offered them an abortion.

Kainat told New Zealand news website Stuff that it was “was the biggest shock” of their lives.

Determined to give their daughter a chance, they declined the abortion.

By 26 weeks, Kainat developed preeclampsia and was hospitalised until Amairah was born weighing just enough to be cared for by the neonatal doctors in Auckland Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). 

Amairah’s rough first year continued and she suffered from a range of medical problems, including chronic lung disease, respiratory distress syndrome, and retinopathy. She also had two surgeries for bowel obstruction and developed multiple infections, needed multiple blood transfusions, ultrasound scans, X-rays and MRI.

Kainat said: “When she was born, I didn’t even see her, I didn’t even hug her, they just took her. We had our first cuddle 12 days after she was born.”

Amairah is now thriving under the care of developmental therapist and dietician.

One month ahead of Amairah’s first birthday her mother exclaimed: “She’s such a happy child, she’s smiling all the time at strangers, she barely cries”.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has championed a Government Bill to introduce extreme abortion legislation to New Zealand. The Bill will introduce abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities such as Down’s syndrome or cleft lip and palate.

Currently, there is a 20-week time limit for disability-selective abortions in New Zealand law.

The proposed legislation will see this time limit removed and abortion for babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities will be available up until birth, with the approval of a single health practitioner.

A large number of parents have publicly voiced their concerns about the harmful impact this Bill will have on people with Down’s syndrome.

Last month, thousands of people gathered in the New Zealand’s capital city to urge their political leaders to defend human life ahead of an expect vote on the extreme abortion bill later this year.

Thousands march for life in New Zealand, ahead of extreme abortion bill vote

Thousands of people from all over New Zealand marched in the country’s capital on Saturday calling on their political leaders to defend human life from conception, ahead of next year’s vote on an extreme abortion bill.

Over 2,000 people gathered in the streets of Wellington for the third National March for Life carrying signs saying “Both Lives Matter” and “Love them Both”.

It comes as steps are being taken by new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to permit abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities such as Down’s syndrome or cleft lip and palate.

Currently, there is a 20-week time limit for disability-selective abortions in New Zealand law.

The proposed legislation will see this time limit removed and abortion for babies prenatally diagnosed with Down’s syndrome and other disabilities will be available up until birth, with the approval of a single health practitioner.

Before 20 weeks, expectant women would be able to refer themselves for an on-demand abortion.

A large number of parents have publicly voiced their concerns about the harmful impact this Bill will have on people with Down’s syndrome.

These concerns were echoed to thousands of pro-life campaigners on Saturday as Aggie Brown took to the stage with her husband Derek and their adopted nine-year-old son Reuben.

Addressing the crowds, Aggie explained how she and her husband’s life had changed for the better in having Reuben as part of the family, saying:   

“He may have Down’s but he undeniably shows us and others so much love, joy and happiness. He has taught us tolerance, empathy and kindness. There’s no such thing as a perfect human being and it saddens me to hear that Down’s syndrome is seen in a negative light.”

Aggie had been dismayed to learn in the lead up to Reuben’s birth his mother was strongly advised to consider having an abortion, by her GP, who gave her “the worst possible scenario if she chose to keep her Down’s baby”.

She added: “Much work is needed to illuminate the vast majority of genocide, discrimination and mistreatment that people with Down syndrome face.

“We would not be standing here today with our awesome nine-year-old son Reuben had his birth mother decided to have a termination. And for that, we highly commend her in making a courageous selfless decision in choosing adoption as a living option.”

Since 1974, when the first abortion facility opened in Auckland, New Zealand has seen more than 500,000 abortions take place.

In 2018 the total number of abortions was 13,282, the equivalent of 36 abortions per day.