NZ deputy-PM elected on pro-life vote, votes NO to giving pain relief to babies during late-term abortions along with NO to 12 other pro-life amendments

New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the New Zealand First Party, Winston Peters, who was elected on a ‘values’ and a pro-life vote in the last general election, has voted against an amendment requiring that pain relief be given to babies being aborted between 20-weeks and birth. 

The amendment, tabled by Agnes Loheni MP, would have added a new requirement for abortion procedures post-20 week to ensure that a fetus does not feel pain, bringing the legislation in line with New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Act which requires vets to ensure that animals don’t feel pain. 

Winston Peters also voted against 12 other amendments brought forward by pro-life MPs including amendments to:

  • Require health professionals give medical help to babies born alive after ‘failed’ abortions
  • Provide additional safeguards to help prevent sex-selective abortions
  • Restricting abortions between 20 weeks and birth (to when a woman’s life or health is at risk – and requiring doctors to be involved with later abortions rather than the proposed requirement that any health professional can perform an abortion)
  • Restricting abortions between 20-weeks and birth (to when there is a risk to the life, or of serious harm to the physical or mental health, of the woman; or the fetus is so medically impaired as to be unlikely to survive beyond birth)
  • Keeping conscientious objection standards the same as they currently are (the bill currently weakens the protections)
  • Restricting employment discrimination on grounds of conscience
  • Require annual reporting of abortion statistics. Currently, the Bill only requires data collection during the first 18 months of the proposed abortion legislation coming into force
  • Require health professionals to be culturally sensitive to those requesting an abortion and where necessary provide translation services
  • Cultural considerations to be considered consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi (woman’s wellbeing protected by recognising her whakapapa and the whanaungatanga responsibilities of her family, whanau, hapu, iwi, and family group) 

Over 12,000 people have now signed a petition calling on Winston Peters to withdraw the bill.

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 Government’s 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.

Fetal pain

In a recent article, published in the influential Journal of Medical Ethics, two medical researchers, including a ‘pro-choice’ British pain expert who used to think there was no chance unborn babies could feel pain before 24-weeks, say there is now “good evidence” that the brain and nervous system, which start developing at 12 weeks’ gestation, are sufficient enough for the baby to feel pain.

They argue that women considering an abortion at this stage of pregnancy should be told about the pain their unborn baby could experience while being terminated.

Noting the increased concerns of women over the pain unborn babies may experience, they say medical staff should ask if the woman wants the baby to be given pain relief.

To carry on regardless of new evidence “flirts with moral recklessness,” they add.

Currently, the use of pain relief in the UK and New Zealand is not required by law or suggested in official guidelines. This in itself is contradicted by the standard NHS practice of giving painkillers to unborn babies receiving surgery in the womb for spina bifida

The lead author of the article is British professor Stuart Derbyshire, who has acted as a consultant to the US’ largest abortion provider – Planned Parenthood – and the Pro-Choice Forum in the UK.

In 2006, he wrote in the British Medical Journal that not talking to women seeking abortions about pain experienced by unborn babies was “sound policy based on good evidence that foetuses cannot experience pain”.

However, due to recent studies, he says “it is now clear that the consensus is no longer tenable.”

Professor Derbyshire and Dr Bockmann advise: “Given the evidence that the foetus might be able to experience something like pain during later abortions, it seems reasonable that the clinical team and the pregnant woman are encouraged to consider foetal analgesia [pain relief].”

The two medics add that their own “stark differences” on the morality of abortion “should not interfere with discussion of whether foetal pain is possible”.

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.

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.

Pro-abortion MPs accidentally remove buffer zone provision from their abortion bill

A bill that would introduce the world’s most extreme abortion law to New Zealand looked like it would emerge from the first of two committee stage debates unchanged, until pro-abortion MPs calamitously axed one of their own key proposals.

In an inadvertent victory for pro-life campaigners, pro-abortion MPs accidentally allowed an amendment preventing the establishment of “buffer zones”, which prevent pro-life help from being offered outside abortion clinics, to pass unchallenged. 

Pro-abortion MPs had hoped to establish so-called censorship zones up to 150 metres in diameter around abortion clinics.  

David Seymour, leader of the libertarian right-wing ACT Party tabled an amendment to remove censorship zones from the Bill, despite being a supporter of the bill and a staunch advocate of abortion and euthanasia. Mr Seymour brought forward the amendment because he believes that the speech needed to be protected, saying: “I’ve never defended anyone that I like when it comes to free speech, and that’s the test of free speech, you’ve got to protect people that you don’t like”.

The amendment failed, but by a very tight margin, 59 votes to 56, however later in the evening a second part to his amendment effectively passed by accident. 

The second part of Seymour’s amendment proposed deleting the parts of the bill that would give effect to the censorship zones. It then went to a voice vote, where MPs vote by saying “aye” and “no”, which was passed.

MPs then had an opportunity to call a conscience vote on the amendment but supporters of censorship zones failed to do this, meaning the amendment passed. A late attempt by pro-abortion Green MP Jan Logie to save the provision failed. 

While censorship zones remain in the legislation, the parts of the bill relating to establishing censorship zones and making them function have been removed. This effectively makes it impossible to set up censorship zones. 

Currently, abortion in New Zealand is permitted with the approval of two doctors when the pregnant woman faces a danger to her life, physical or mental health, with a 20-week time limit for disability-selective abortions.

If this proposed legislation were to pass New Zealand would have the most extreme abortion law in the world, essentially permitting abortion throughout all nine months of pregnancy.

The Bill will now enter a second Committee Stage debate tomorrow, on Wednesday 11 March, ahead of the Bill’s third and final reading. One amendment that will be voted on tomorrow could see the extreme abortion Bill decided by a referendum, along with euthanasia.

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.