‘Women feel wait for abortion too long’ screamed the headline as I sat down for breakfast and a read of the local daily paper last Saturday morning.
My first thought upon reading the headline was: ‘why this now?’
You see, having already read the press release that had been issued the day before this headline was published, by the researchers who carried out this new survey on abortion wait times, I had had plenty of time to think through this issue as I waited for the inevitable slew of news articles about the new survey findings to start appearing in the NZ media.
The timing of this research, or at least the announcement about it, raises huge suspicions about what is really going on here.
Why is it that just several weeks after a Labour MP announces that she is putting her name to a bill that would legalize abortion on demand up to 24 weeks in NZ do we suddenly get research appearing which claims that it is taking too long for women to access abortion in this country?
And why is it that this new research, which calls for an increase in early abortions, comes out around the same time that the NZ Family Planning Association (NZ FPA) is seeking official permission to start offering early term chemical abortions in its clinics using the RU-486 abortion drug?
There are some striking similarities between what the lead researcher on this survey, Dr Martha Silva, is calling for, and what the NZ FPA, and other pro-abortion activists like Margaret Sparrow have been saying of late.
Just consider some of the following comparisons…
Auckland University research press release, July 2010:
“Although termination is a safe procedure when carried out under hygienic conditions by a trained provider, the risk for complications increases with gestational age.
Abortion Law Reform Association NZ press release, December 2009:
‘The earlier an abortion is carried out, the safer it is for the woman, [Margaret Sparrow] said.’
Women’s Health Action Trust press release (in support of NZ FPA RU-486 abortion license), March 2009:
‘…for the women who do access abortion services, greater choice of treatment options, improved accessibility including reduced waiting times and therefore earlier abortions, can greatly improve women’s experience and thus their long term health and wellbeing.’
Auckland University research press release, July 2010:
“To avoid further inequities, best practices must be identified to ensure that all clinics, regardless of whether they’re public or private, can minimise the amount of time women have to wait for a procedure.”
Women’s Health Action Trust press release, March 2009:
‘The waiting time for abortions means many are performed later than necessary.’
NZ FPA, March 2009:
“Currently, New Zealand women have inconsistent access to abortion services and in many areas, limited choice about the method of abortion they can access. Safe and accessible abortion services are an integral part of good reproductive health care. Applying for this licence is consistent with that philosophy of access and choice,” Ms Penno says.”
Make no bones about it folks, despite what the headlines are saying in your local paper, this latest effort from Dr Martha Silva is little more than pro-abortion lobbying in academic drag.
Just consider the title that Silva chose to give to the press release that she wrote (or at least approved) to announce her new survey findings about abortion wait times:
‘Women Suffer Long Delays for Pregnancy Termination’
Just in case anybody is in doubt, this sort of emotive and leading terminology is not used by unbiased researchers engaged in objective fact finding, instead this is the sort of language used by pressure groups engaged in PR and political lobbying.
Just take a look at a couple of the other statements used in this press release…
‘New Zealand women are, on average, being forced to wait nearly a month to get a termination of pregnancy…’
‘Lead researcher, Dr Martha Silva, says efforts need to be made by clinics and referring doctors to reduce the waiting times.’
Trust me when I say that authentic scientific research doesn’t generally involve lead researchers making such direct and strong public statements. Researchers deal in cold hard facts, not bold pronouncements about desired policy change outcomes – that’s the domain of politicians, lobbyists and advocacy groups.
And I should know, because I write press releases which advocate for the just and humane treatment of innocent unborn human beings.
I am also more than a little bit surprised that academics from a major NZ university would make such bold claims about policy changes regarding abortion when well below 50% of their survey respondents actually support the changes they have subsequently opted to publicly lobby for.
Remember, only 38% of the women surveyed stated that they felt they had waited too long and they wanted their abortion wait time to be shorter.
Another 15% said they were content with the wait time, and then there is the mystery of what the other 47% of survey respondents actually felt about this matter.
47% is no small number.
Were these 47% of other women ambivalent about the issue of their abortion wait time?
Because if that is the case, then that this means that 62% of women were either content with the current abortion wait time or did not consider it to be an important issue, and only 38% actually thought the wait time was too long.
Or was it that 47% of survey participants didn’t actually answer this part of the survey?
If this is the case, then the Auckland research has some rather large questions about their methodology to answer – if 47% of survey participants didn’t respond to a specific question about abortion wait times, then how can you then claim that 38% of women want a change in the abortion wait time?
Such a claim simply can’t be scientifically supported if 47% of your survey sample never actually voiced an opinion either way on the matter.
Another important thing to note is that, according to Radio NZ, 2950 women participated in this survey, which means that approximately only 16% of women who had abortions that year actually participated in this research, leaving the opinions of the other 84% untested.
I also can’t help but feel that there is a huge methodological flaw in asking a woman in an abortion facility whether she feels that the wait time for her abortion was too long.
Surely such women are under intense pressure, and therefore their response to that question is going to be tainted by the immense emotional pressures they are already struggling under the weight of?
Was there anything in place to control for this factor?
I am sure you can now see why I think that this latest ‘research’ is little more than a thinly disguised attempt to gain support for a further liberalization of NZ’s abortion laws.
What Dr Martha Silva and her team are actually lobbying for here, in practical terms, is far easier access to abortion, and for early abortions to become more common (she explicitly states these aims in her press release).
The first of these things is precisely what Steve Chadwick was proposing just three weeks ago in her new abortion on demand bill, and the later is what the NZ FPA have been proposing for the last year or so with their RU-486 abortion schemes.
Which is precisely why I struggle to accept that Dr. Martha Silva and her team are merely engaged in disinterested and unbiased research here.
Oh, and did I also mention that Dr Martha Silva was a guest speaker at the 5th Abortion Providers Conference in Auckland in March 2008, or that she was co-author of an article that same year which argued for an increase in the number of abortion clinics around NZ?
Maybe Silva, Sparrow and rest of their birds of a feather all think we’re so intellectually deficient that we can’t see that there has clearly been a strategic collusion of sorts gone on here as part of their ongoing attempts to liberalize NZ’s abortion laws.
Like they always say: ‘there are lies, damned lies, and statistics’.
One of the cheerier stories to emerge from the World Cup in South Africa concerned the taciturn coach of the winning side, Spain. Vicente del Bosque’s 21-year-old second son Alvaro has Down syndrome. But the coach is immensely proud of him — even though Alvaro has been highly critical of some of his decisions. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero made sure that Alvaro was invited to his official reception for the team to hold the World Cup trophy aloft.
“At first we cried a lot,” del Bosque says about the days after Alvaro’s birth, “but now when I look back I think, we were so foolish.”
The coach’s reaction is quite typical of the parents of Down syndrome children. Despite significant health problems, they normally have a placid, loving disposition which often brings much consolation to parents. Some even say that their Down syndrome child is easier to raise than their other children. As a Harvard University expert, Dr Brian Skotko, puts it, “Parents who have children with DS have already found much richness in life with an extra chromosome.”
That’s why I found this week’s news from Melbourne so gut-wrenching:
“Two Victorian couples are suing doctors for failing to diagnose Down syndrome in their unborn babies, denying them the chance to terminate the pregnancies. The couples are claiming unspecified damages for economic loss, continuing costs of care of the children, and ‘psychiatric injury’. Both say they would have aborted their pregnancies had they been told their children would be born with Down syndrome.”
Current affairs shows interviewed the parents. They complained about how very hard it is to look after these children, and that they really would have rather aborted the babies had they been given the chance. So now they are seeking damages for their “psychiatric injury” and suffering.
This is crassly selfish, but the unfortunate parents are probably just echoing what they heard from doctors. Dr Skotko reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhood last year that few of them know much about life with Down syndrome. Often they put subtle or not-so-subtle pressure on pregnant women to abort affected foetuses. Many women told him that their physicians had provided them with incomplete, inaccurate, and oftentimes offensive information about the condition. He found that women were being told that Down syndrome was a too great a burden for the child to bear.
I must say that I cannot summon up much sympathy for these parents and even less for their demand for damages. Do special needs children present challenges? Yes, absolutely. But guess what? Anything worthwhile is tough going.
Indeed, sacrifice is the name of the game for parents. In fact, every single child is a huge handful. They place enormous demands on you for a good 20 years — and continue to do so long after they leave the nest.
Not only will they cost you at least a quarter of a million dollars between ages 0 to 18, but they will cost you emotionally, physically, psychologically and mentally. Loving another person is costly.
Real love discounts the tremendous costs. Any parent worth his or her salt will gladly make a dozen major sacrifices a day out of love for their offspring.
The Eliot Institute has published a fully referenced special report on RU-486 that is well worth a read…
In addition to the 7 American women (13 internationally) who have died after taking RU-486, FDA reports show that as of 2006: 116 women needed blood transfusions, 232 women required hospitalization, and 1,024 women reported adverse events.6 Since there is no mandatory reporting of RU-486 complications to the FDA, and because of the distinct possibility that a deadly infection may not be traced back to the use of RU-486, there is no telling how many other women have suffered serious complications or death from these chemical abortions.
A more recent study from Finland indicates that when using the abortion pill, 20 percent of women suffered at least one significant side effect. Of those studied, hemorrhaging occurred in 15.6 percent of cases, infection in 1.7 percent, and incomplete abortions in 6.7 percent. Compared to surgical abortion, the risk of hemorrhage was almost eight times higher and the risk of an incomplete abortion was five times higher.7 Other research suggests that the drug suppresses the immune system, leaving the woman more susceptible to infection.
There are primarily two ways the RU-486 regimen can cause a woman’s death. The first is an incomplete abortion, where parts of the baby remain inside the woman’s uterus. As a result, the woman can bleed to death or she can develop a deadly blood infection and die of septic shock.
The second most likely cause of death is a ruptured tubal pregnancy. Since RU-486 cannot abort a tubal pregnancy, ruling out that possibility is best done by ultrasound. Surprisingly, the FDA protocol does not require an ultrasound. As a result, the FDA reports at least 17 cases where women with tubal pregnancies took the drug, with potentially fatal consequences.
A Utah woman is pregnant with two babies, but they’re not twins.
Angie Cromar was born with a rare condition called didelphys, which means she has two uteruses. It didn’t pose a problem for her previous pregnancies, and the 34-year-old has given birth to two healthy children before.
But this time, she’s conceived in both uteruses. During her first ultrasound exam, Cromar and her doctor discovered that she’s carrying two fetuses at different stages of development, one slightly older than the other.
Video Courtesy of KSL.com
“[He said] I’m five weeks and four days in one, and six weeks and one day in the other,” Cromar told her local TV station, KTLA.
From last week’s Dominion Post…
It went unnoticed by the media, but Justice Minister Simon Power recently issued a press statement announcing that Rosemary Fenwicke had decided not to seek reappointment to the Abortion Supervisory Committee.
There’s a story behind this. Dr Fenwicke, a member of the three-person committee since 2007, is an abortion certifying consultant who earns fees by approving the termination of pregnancies.
She is also a former medical director of the Family Planning Association, a major abortion referral agency.
She was nominated for the committee in 2007 by the Labour government of Helen Clark, whose pro-abortion sympathies are well known.
The appointment seemed not only an unconscionable conflict of interest, but a calculated insult to the many New Zealanders who regard abortion as deeply repugnant.
Were they really expected to believe the government couldn’t find someone who didn’t have a material stake in the abortion business? (Certifying consultants were paid $5 million in 2008, and even pro-abortionists acknowledge it’s a lucrative business.)
The very nature of her professional activity suggested Dr Fenwicke was not neutral on this divisive issue, yet Parliament rejected an attempt by MP Gordon Copeland, a staunch opponent of abortion, to overturn her nomination.
(It was supposedly a conscience vote but Labour MPs were instructed to support Dr Fenwicke, meaning her appointment was assured.)
I have just been sent another piece of email correspondence from Steve Chadwick which was sent to another different member of the public who raised concerns with Chadwick about her abortion on demand bill, and in this email correspondence she once again makes an admission about there being a lack of parliamentary support for her extreme abortion bill.
Here’s exactly what she said (name of corespondent withheld for privacy reasons)…
You are a fabulous parent and this is a reasoned and compassionate response
There appears to be a lack of parliamentary support for my bill at this stage
I am a midwife and would never pressure parents, nether did any Obstetrician I worked with in NZ for thirty years
This email was sent prior to the other one which contained a more definitive statement about the lack of political support for her bill.
Once again, I have no reason to doubt the validity of this email as everything seems to be in order.
I have been sent a copy of an email that was sent to someone I know at 4:35pm today by Labour MP Steve Chadwick, in which Chadwick admits that there is no parliamentary support for her new proposed abortion on demand bill.
Here is the (entire) contents of the email (the name of person who emailed Chadwick has been concealed for privacy reasons)…
You are actually in a position of power called “people power”
There is no parliamentary support for my Bill
I know the person who sent this email well enough to know that they wouldn’t engage in any dishonesty, and all of the proper email particulars look to be in order, so there appears to be no reason to doubt it was in fact Steve Chadwick (or one of her staffers) who has made this admission.
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has written an extensive letter to members of the Senate calling for a no vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan. The letter focuses attention on the Clinton administration memos Kagan authored showing her attempting to manipulate abortion opinion.
Specifically, Koop refers to the ways in which Kagan influenced the language of a 1997 statement by American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists on partial-birth abortions.
Whereas ACOG found no occasion in which the three-day-long abortion procedure is medically necessary for women, Kagan pressured ACOG to include language saying there may be instances where it is and the Supreme Court eventually relied on that language to overturn state bans on the abortion procedure.
That eventually kept partial-birth abortions legal for several years longer until the Supreme Court reversed itself when considering a national ban Congress approved with medical findings that partial-birth abortions are medically unnecessary.
In his letter, Koop calls “unethical” and “disgraceful” Kagan’s effort to persuade the medical group to change its expert opinion to conform to her political demands.
“She was willing to replace a medical statement with a political statement that was not supported by any existing medical data,” writes Koop.
“Kagan’s political language, a direct result of the amendment she made to ACOG’s Policy Statement, made its way into American jurisprudence and misled federal courts for the next decade,” he said.
He condemns Kagan for having “manipulated the medical policy statement on partial-birth abortion of a major medical organization.”
It’s time that some important questions were asked of the NZ Herald in light of what quite clearly appears to have become some sort of crusade to get euthanasia legalized in NZ.
It started yesterday when they ran the story about John Pollock, a NZ doctor who is dying of cancer and has written a letter to the NZ Doctor Magazine calling for euthanasia to be legalized.
The first hard question that needs to be asked of the NZ Herald is: did they ever stop to consider the fact that John Pollock is being motivated to adopt this cause out of an irrational personal fear of dying a painful death?
After reporting on this issue, the NZ Herald then reprinted his original letter from the NZ Doctor Magazine in full yesterday in their online edition.
But they still haven’t talked to anyone on the other side of the euthanasia discussion.
So the second question that needs to be asked is: why has the NZ Herald opted to ignore the basic journalistic norms around balanced reporting on this issue of euthanasia?
Straight away this raises red flags about whether they are actually reporting news or promoting an agenda.
Yesterday the NZ Herald ran an unscientific opinion poll on its website about this story, which has today been turned into a whole new leading news article, once again, pushing for legalized euthanasia, with a headline that reads: Legalising euthanasia wins huge support
And once again, there is no balance to today’s article, only a strong pro-euthanasia agenda being pushed (which includes a liberal use of unverified comments sent in by pro-euthanasia readers of the NZ Herald)
They even go back to John Pollock for a comment so that he can refute the claims made by the head of the NZ Medical Association who states that:
‘there [is] “plenty of medical and nursing support” to help people to die with dignity and relatively pain-free.’
In response to that VERY important statement, the NZ Herald published this comment from John Pollock:
“Although we are much better now at offering end-of-life relief, we are far from perfect,” he said. “We still have many patients who have miserable deaths despite our best efforts, despite the hospice’s best efforts.”
What John Pollock is pointing out here actually means that we need more attention and resourcing to go into end stage care and pain treatment – legalized euthanasia WILL NOT achieve any good outcome for patients, in fact it simply leads to a reduction in the quality of hospice care whenever it is legalized.
Finally, I think it is also worth pointing out that the NZ Herald has completely mislead its readers in today’s story by the way that it has presented the findings of a Massey University survey public opinions on euthanasia.
Here’s what the NZ Herald says today in its article:
‘The Massey survey found that 70 per cent supported a doctor being permitted by law to end a patient’s life, at the patient’s request, if the person had a painful, incurable disease.’
What the NZ Herald failed to tell people in today’s article was that the Massey study actually asked several questions of its participants, and the second question read as follows:
‘Suppose a person has an incurable disease, but with medication is not in pain. Do you think that doctors should be allowed by law to end the patient’s life if the person requests it?’
What the Massey study actually found, and what the NZ Herald did NOT report today, was that support for legalized euthanasia dropped to around 45% if the person was not in pain or did not have an incurable disease, and opposition to euthanasia doubled from 20% to 40%.
It is also worth noting that last year’s UMR morality survey, something else that was NOT mentioned today by the NZ Herald, found that only 54% of Kiwis support legalized euthanasia.
Come on NZ Herald, you really need to up your game here and start reporting on these issues with far more balance, because at the moment you are presenting the impression that you are engaged in a crusade to legalize euthanasia in NZ – and no matter how you spin it, that’s not journalism, it is activism.