Today several different pro-choice organisations around the world are celebrating something they call ‘International Decriminalise Abortion Day’.
Basically it’s a day where pro-choice activists pressure governments to remove abortion from the crimes act, instead pushing for it to be treated as nothing more than a healthcare issue by legislation.
Here’s what’s wrong with International Decriminalise Abortion Day:
1. Abortion is NOT legitimate healthcare.
Not only does it take the life of an innocent human being (which, where I come from at least, is the exact opposite of what legitimate healthcare is supposed to achieve), but it doesn’t even do this in an attempt to fulfill any life-saving purpose.
The simple fact is that the vast majority of abortions in this country are social abortions carried out for reasons of convenience and NOT to save anyone’s life.
2. What kind of person ‘celebrates’ decriminalized abortion?
I use the word ‘celebrate’, because that’s exactly what the supporters of this campaign are saying.
But what kind of person celebrates anything to do with abortion?
Certainly not the thousands of women who are harmed in some way by abortion each year, and even most pro-choicer’s understand that abortion is not something to celebrate, considering it a difficult and undesirable thing to go through.
Perhaps these people need to spend more time reading the stories of the actual women who have been hurt by abortion before they start using terms such as ‘celebrate’ in relation to the issue of abortion.
3. Legalized abortion is like the abolition of slavery?!
Just listen to what one supporter of this event has to say about it (emphasis added):
Why 28 September?
This day of action has its origin in Latin America and the Caribbean, where women’s groups have been calling on their governments to decriminalize abortion around September 28 for many years. The date was chosen in commemoration of the abolition of slavery in Brazil, which is now remembered as the day of the “free womb”.
The vile irony here is hard to fathom really.
Legalized slavery was an act which refused to recognise an entire class of persons as being real persons, instead proclaiming them to be less human than the rest of us, and therefore not entitled to the same rights and freedoms.
Legalized abortion is also an act which refuses to recognize an entire class of persons (unborn persons) as being real persons, instead proclaiming them to be less human than the rest of us, and therefore not entitled to the same rights and freedoms that we all enjoy.
To use this particular date to promote abortion exposes not only the logical flaws in pro-choice reasoning, but also just how inconsistent legalized abortion is in relation to our practice of human rights.
4. No ALRANZ, there is absolutely no need to decriminalize abortion in NZ
Our very own Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ) have joined forces with the Family Planning Association (FPA) to promote International Decriminalize Abortion Day, and to use it as an opportunity to promote their current pet agenda; the liberalization of NZ abortion laws.
And how about this for a logical fallacy (from their joint press release):
“If women could reach the highest levels of office, should they not be able to decide for themselves whether to have an abortion?”
This doesn’t make any sense whatsoever – let me put it another way to show you just how illogical such a statement is:
‘If women could reach the highest levels of office, should they not be able to decide for themselves whether to commit acts of armed robbery?’
One thing has nothing to do with the other, but then I suppose I shouldn’t expect too much in the way of well reasoned argument from activists who have built their careers on the back of shonky sloganistic rhetoric and sophistry.
The key point is that NZ already has widespread and easy access to abortion, so the suggestion that we need to liberalize our abortion laws even further is simply ludicrous – unless of course some of the ALRANZ and FPA backers want the laws to change so that they can start exploiting vulnerable NZ women by setting up more for-profit abortion clinics.
In many ways the ALRANZ blog article about International Decriminalize Abortion Day is rather telling, as much of its column space is taken up reprinting a 35 year old newspaper article where a tiny minority of pro-choicers were complaining about how restrictive NZ’s abortion law is – it seems that some things never change.
Today is International Decriminalise Abortion day… apparently.
However this begs the question – how is this relevant to New Zealand?
Yes abortion is in the Crimes Act under s 183, making it a crime to procure an abortion, but as we all know, the statute provides a number of exceptions to this by allowing abortions to be performed on grounds such as:
- The life of the mother is at risk. (Section 187A(1)(a))
- The mental health of the mother is at risk. (Section 187A(1)(a))
- The child, if born, would be so physically or mentally abnormal as to be seriously
- handicapped. (Section 187A(1)(aa))
- That the pregnancy is a result of an incestuous relationship. (Section 187(1)(b)).
Last year 15,863 abortions were performed in New Zealand, with the vast majority being made under the ground that the mental health of the mother is at risk.
Based on the information we have at the moment, what those who are campaigning for abortion decriminalisation today are not telling you is that they are actually campaigning for is, in practice, abortion on demand, at any point during the pregnancy (no restrictions up to 24 weeks and the simple sign-off of two sympathetic doctors, say the operating abortionist and anaethitist, right through to birth).
This is an extreme agenda which will undermine the principle behind what most people see as sensible abortion policy, that is, it should be ‘safe, legal and rare’ in the words of President Bill Clinton.
In New Zealand, abortion is legally justified on a number of grounds, the procedures used are as safe as they can be, but abortion is by no means rare.
Instead of advocating for an open slather policy of abortion on demand, ALRANZ and the pro-choice lobby should expend their time on more fruitful means to provide women with real choices. These include supporting pregnancy counselling services, advocating for better adoption laws and showing real compassion for women who find themselves in tough crisis pregnancy situations.
Tireless Australian euthanasia campaigner Dr Philip Nitschke is a persevering man.
When he finally succeeded with the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act in Australia’s Northern Territory in 1995, it was fairly swiftly removed courtesy of a private members bill by current front-bencher Kevin Andrews.
And more than fifteen years later, Dr Nitschke is still looking for ways to end people’s lives in a way he says is humane.
I have heard him speak on a few occasions and talked to him briefly not long ago. He is a hard campaigner, but perhaps the battle is taking its toll.
Dr Nitschke recently showed the sort of optimism displayed by state Labor leaders before the recent polls. The desperation was tangible, the logic crazy.
He applied to Fiji for an Australian off-shore euthanasia clinic.
His dream of an Australian equivalent to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, where 1000 people have died (supposedly voluntarily) since 1998, was in the form of a haven of assisted suicide in the tropics.
The Sydney Morning Herald’s cartoonist Wilcox lampooned the idea with a drawing of a “Final Rest” euthanasia resort, featuring a Fijian about to drop a coconut on an old woman lying by the beach.
It’s just a pity for Dr Nitschke that his zeal prevents him from seeing the obvious.
There was no way that Fiji was ever going to entertain a proposal for a euthanasia clinic in Fiji. He would have had more luck proposing to move Guantanamo Bay detention camp to Caracas.
Why? Because Fiji, like the rest of the Pacific, despite the fact they have more health issues and poorer levels of health care than Australia and New Zealand, seriously value all human life.
A Fijian told me recently that Fiji has a different approach to western countries regarding the aged. He said all Fijians, regardless of their religious beliefs, have a strong cultural value on life.
He said there are no such things as nursing homes for old people, because they are mainly taken care of in the home and village, unless hospitalisation is required. It is all part of honouring their elderly and thanking them for looking after them when they were young.
Australian and New Zealand politicians looking at euthanasia proposals could perhaps learn from the wise words of a Fiji villager.
In Fiji, the elderly are highly respected, but they are also made to feel valued. This villager’s comments echoed those spoken on the airways in New Zealand recently, when two palliative care specialists were asked for their reactions to daft and uninformed comments about euthanasia by the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
The President of the Fiji Medical Association Dr James Fong told Radio New Zealand the association did not even have a policy on euthanasia due to a lack of demand for it within Fiji. They reported, “Dr James Fong says there are logistical issues to say nothing of the ethical problems with euthanasia.”
But what also startling is that some Australian media said Fiji was considering the proposal, despite no confirmation from the Fijian Government, showing some media are keen to jump on Nitschke’s bandwagon of optimistic death-seeking.
Fiji’s Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information Sharon Smith-Johns told Fiji media there were no plans at all, and that Australian media had not contacted them for comment.
All Nitschke received was a standard letter the Government sends to anyone who contacts them with a proposal – a simple request for more information, which he showed to the Fairfax journalist.
His proposal probably hadn’t gone past the desk of the first bureaucrat in the Attorney-General’s chambers.
But the Fairfax papers said it was “on the agenda for Fiji” and they quoted Nitschke as saying the developing country could generate ”considerable income” from a clinic.
And this is where the more sinister element in the issue lies.
Fiji is a developing country struggling to find sources of income. It has also been run by a very small group of unelected people with considerable power since the 2006 coup.
Changing a law is a fairly simple thing for them to do. They have enacted plenty of decrees since taking over.
But Nitschke denied both charges of taking advantage of Fiji’s situation in a fairly sympathetic interview with Radio Australia.
He has since said the Fiji Government has changed its story and is running for cover over the backlash, and he will try other Pacific islands for their response.
He told Radio Australia that the so-called “positive” response from Fiji “might reflect the change in attitudes, not just in the South Pacific, but probably around the world.”
Hopefully after testing the Pacific waters once and failing, he might drop the desperation to encourage people to die. The Pacific culture could offer him a good lesson on how to make the elderly and infirm feel their worth.
But that’s not likely with Dr Nitschke. He is a persevering man.
Cross posted from Rawiri at LifeChoice.
Provocative headline right?
But that’s exactly what NZ commentator Dita De Boni proposed last week in her regular column in the NZ Herald when she stated (emphasis added):
“Infanticide is abhorrent to most of us but it is incredible how common it is, still, in this day and age where there is seemingly plenty of access – in New Zealand at least – to contraceptives and abortion…”
So no need to kill an infant when you can have it killed much earlier?!
But that wasn’t all Dita had to say about infanticide and abortion…
“Some believe that society’s casual attitude to abortion spills over into a loss of respect for life in general, and will inevitably draw parallels between the killing of newborn babies and infants. But in fact infanticide has always happened, its incidence increased when and where abortion is not available”
In China they have LOTS of abortion, and they also have LOTS of infanticide, so I guess Dita’s theory doesn’t apply there then.
But aside from that, what’s she’s proposing here is the totally ludicrous notion that killing babies before they are born is a way of solving a country’s infanticide issues.
And in doing so, she exposes the fatal flaw in the pro-choice ideology: the fact that almost all arguments used as an attempt to give ethical justification for abortion, would also give ethical justification for infanticide.
A newborn infant is no more viable, no more self-aware, no more able to think rationally than a child in the womb is, and if you want to try and justify abortion by appealing to some shonky argument about bodily rights, then you’d also have to admit that the bodily demands imposed upon a woman by a child out of the womb are actually far more demanding than those placed on her while the child is in utero (and those demands will last for many years, whereas a pregnancy only last nine months).
It’s at times like these that the vile absurdity of the pro-choice position goes on show for all to see (well, for all who are willing to be honest and look, that is) – on the one hand pro-choicers like De Boni are saddened and outraged by the “horror” of killing a child after birth, yet at the same time they are more than willing to endorse the killing of that very same child before it is born.
Infanticide and abortion are just different names for the same thing – the killing of an innocent, defenseless human being, the only difference between the two acts involves a matter of weeks and a passage through a birth canal.
For the first time, a Belgian prisoner has been euthanased. A man identified as Frank V.D.B, who had spent 20 years in prison for two murders and rapes, died recently. The date is not clear from media reports, but it took place outside the prison. The death only became known because it was revealed by a politician, Senator Louis Ide, who was complaining about the lack of social services in Belgian jails. He seems to have been tipped off by a prison official.
The case has provoked a controversy in the media -not over euthanasia but over the violation of the prisoner’s right to privacy. All of the conditions for euthanasia in Belgium were carefully fulfilled: the prisoner had a terminal illness, he had made repeated requests for death, and three doctors had independently ratified the request.
The head of the Belgian prison service defended the system against M Ide’s criticism. “The people on the ground are doing their best and work hard. But it is almost impossible for two people to take proper care of an prisoner. This is a problem in many prisons”, Francis Van Mol told the media.
Another prisoner — been in jail for 27 years for two murders — has also asked for euthanasia. His request has not been approved yet.
Euthanasia for prisoners obviously poses significant moral dilemmas. Belgium’s euthanasia laws were written for people who are not incarcerated and living completely under government control. However euthanasia activist Philip Nitschke anticipated this situation and praised it as possibly “the last frontier in prison reform” in his 2005 book Killing Me Softly. The latest development seems to suggest that Belgium is becoming the world leader in innovative application of euthanasia laws. Last year Belgian surgeons revealed that they had been harvesting organs obtained from persons who had requested euthanasia.
In 2010, while helping on a Voice for Life stall at Parachute Music Festival, Richard Dawson met a teenaged girl called Veronica who showed unusual interest in the display. In hindsight, perhaps she had been directly affected by abortion. This inspired him to write a pro-life song, which in turn inspired the name for a major pro-life project – to provide help and support during pregnancy and beyond for those who need it.
This project recently came to fruition with the opening of “Veronica’s Place” in Waipawa (New Zealand) on August 11, 2012. The building purchased for the project was originally the Rathborne Maternity Hospital, now 86 years and in need of considerable renovations. This major undertaking has been a step out in faith, from Richard leaving his job as a teacher, to many others contributing and becoming involved, including his wife Rosanne. Even tradespeople offered their services freely.
Four weeks after opening, they welcomed their first young mum and her newborn baby to stay at “Veronica’s Place”.
Over the coming weeks, team members are to meet with health professionals and agencies in the local community, such as staff at the teen mum unit at William Colenso College. There is still much work to be done as the project grows and develops.
Beware of anyone who tries to tell you that there is only one way of being pro-life, or that if you don’t do what they do in the name of the pro-life movement you somehow aren’t really pro-life enough.
The great beauty of movements for social change is that they always encompass a vibrant diversity of people, methodologies and approaches to raising awareness and bringing about positive change. This can include everything from the use of the arts, to practical works, to education, to public protest.
The danger comes when we fail to recognize this important point, and we start to elevate more public forms of activism above all the others.
At the risk of sounding like I’m violating my own opening statement, it is my contention that the pro-life movement needs to rediscover this vitally important truth, and that we need to be reminded that some of the most important and effective work for bringing about a culture of life is being carried out by what I call ‘the invisibles’ in our pro-life movement.
Invisible pro-lifers are the people who toil hard, day in and day out, for the pro-life cause, but you never see or hear about their efforts because they don’t go out of their way to engage in public acts, or because they don’t have any public profile or pro-life ‘celebrity’ status.
People like me who have a regular blog post, etc. are all good, and the work we do is definitely adding something important to the pro-life movement – or least that’s what we like to think we’re doing ;-) – but ultimately I think that the people who actually deserve the real credit are ‘the invisibles’ in our movement – the people who live the pro-life ethic, and work in service of it without ever gaining public attention for their efforts.
One of the things I really love about the pro-life movement here in NZ is that it is populated with exactly these kinds of pro-lifers.
People who sacrifice many hours to do the hard work, the kind of work that requires real sacrifice and commitment – the stuff like being a voluntary crisis-pregnancy or post-abortion counselor, or the people who welcome women with unplanned pregnancies into their very homes, or the administrators and workers who do all the behind-the-scenes grunt work to run pro-life events and organisations, or those who will contribute thousands of dollars of their hard-earned wages in support of the pro-life cause over their lifetime.
Most importantly of all, the real hard workers of our pro-life movement are the mothers and fathers who have totally devoted themselves to embracing the pro-life ethic by welcoming every new child into their families, and by forming their children, through example and education, about the importance of respecting the rights and dignity of ALL human beings from their conception to natural death.
And of all these parents, I believe that the special place of honor belongs to any and all parents who choose life, and who devote themselves to loving, raising and caring for any child despite hardship, or a diagnosis of fetal abnormality or disability.
Such parents, in my humble opinion, are the ‘real pro-lifers’ in our movement, and their total and absolute sacrifice and commitment to the culture of life makes other more public acts – things like public protest, or writing blog posts, etc. (which are still important things that have a place in our movement) look like rather inadequate markers of determining whether someone’s pro-life ‘credentials’ are authentic or not.
Speaking out against abortion in public, or online, etc. is easy compared to what these parents have committed themselves to doing for the culture of life – and when you think about the sacrifice of these parents you realize that doing more public things, like protesting or writing blog posts, isn’t really that much of an indicator of whether you are authentically pro-life or not (after all you could just be caught up in some sort of group euphoria, or ego trip which loves the rush of public engagement, or fighting the system – we certainly wouldn’t be the first movement for social change to have experienced this very type of thing).
So next time you’re tempted to pass judgment on the pro-life credentials of another person because they aren’t engaged in public acts for the pro-life cause, just stop and remember that all effective movements for social change encompass a variety of different methodologies and approaches, and that the truly heroic and difficult work of our movement is actually being done by ‘the invisibles’.
Cross-posted from Claire at LifeChoice.
UK publication The Scotsman published an article by Peter Singer in August (Wednesday, Aug. 15).
Singer, who is professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and Laureate Professor at the University of Melbourne, postulates the notion in his article that being human, (being a member of the species Homo Sapiens) does not constitute the right to life and he argues that restricting access to legal abortion leads many poor women to seek abortion from unsafe providers. He concedes the weakness of arguments based on the so called ‘right to choose’.
Singer claimed: “The fallacy in the anti-abortion argument lies in the shift from the scientifically accurate claim that the foetus is a living individual of the species Homo sapiens to the ethical claim that the foetus therefore has the same right to life as any other human being. Membership of the species Homo sapiens is not enough to confer a right to life.”
According to Singer, in his book “Rethinking Life and Death” unborn babies, or neonates, lacking the requisite consciousness to qualify as persons, have less right to continue to live than an adult gorilla. By the same token, a suffering or disabled child would have a weaker claim not to be killed than a mature pig.
In one of his most controversial statements Singer says that human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping their lives over time. They are not persons he claims hence their lives would seem to be no more worthy of protection that the life of a fetus. Writing specifically about Down syndrome babies Singer advocates trading a disabled or “defective child” (one who is apparently doomed to too much suffering) for one who has better prospects for happiness.”
Patrick Buckley, writer for the ‘Europen Life Netwok’ introduced a response against Singer: “I profoundly disagree with Singer, every human being born or unborn possesses the right to life from the moment of their conception onwards. This is a fundamental and imprescriptible right superior to all positive law. I am not alone in this view it is supported by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)”
Buckley continued: “On the issue of consciousness once again I disagree with Singers reasoning and whilst I would like to see the lives of animals protected, I reject the comparison he draws between humans and animals. I would also argue that nature does not revolve around function; function actually revolves around nature.”
In his arguments Singer suggests that one’s right to abortion is based on three things:
- The absence of any ethical status for the unborn.
- Human life is valued according to it’s consciousness.
- The amount of suffering the unborn may impose.
However these ideals fail to suggest the exact moment at which a foetus becomes a ‘valid’ member of the human species.
Much of the abortion debate stems around the moment at which human life begins. Interestingly, Singer himself believes in the scientific conclusion that life begins at the moment of conception. What is alarming is his inability to exclaim that such a life has any moral status.
What singer fails to suggest is what factors are required for individuals to become an ‘eligible’ member of the human species. However, it is clear that simply being human, is what constitutes an individual to be a valid member.
His ideals on consciousness and suffering does not only dehumanise the unborn it does also to those in vegetative states, infants and less able adults. With a lack of objective truth… Anything goes!
From this we can see that there is a correlation between the self-interest of society and the line drawn between humans and non-humans. This is often driven by economic, social and political factors. Such motivators therefore feed the notions of moral relativism and subjectivity on when a life is considered …a ‘worthwhile’ life.
On a side note, Singer conveniently disregards the maternal death rates from abortions, it also does not include the greater risks associated with abortion procedures.
If the foundations of a society is built around Singer’s justifications for abortions, then we can only expect a radical decline in the quality of life. The significance of a life can not be determined by the exterior burdens it may impose.
A leading Belgian cancer physician will tell an international symposium in Dublin on maternal health this week that induced abortion does nothing to improve the prognosis of pregnant women with cancer. Described by The Lancet as “leading the agenda on cancer on pregnancy” Professor Frédéric Amant will say, “In the case of cancer complicating pregnancy, termination of pregnancy does not improve the maternal prognosis.”
Amant, a gynaecological oncologist and lecturer at the University of Leuven, is the lead researcher of an international study on pregnancy and cancer, and the author of a series of articles published in The Lancet and Lancet Oncology on malignancy in pregnancy.
Symposium organisers have said that his presentation has already attracted “significant interest” from Irish medical professionals ahead of the event. Saturday’s symposium will feature several notable physicians and others working in maternal health care and participants are expected to attend from all over Europe and the U.S., Kenya and Chile. It will focus on management of high-risk pregnancies, cancer in pregnancy, foetal anomalies and mental health. It will also look at trends of maternal mortality from around the world and the factors that influence rates of maternal death.
The symposium comes as Ireland faces a major stand-off in its parliament with two sides of a coalition government in an uproar over proposals to abolish Ireland’s constitutional protections for the unborn. The Labour Party, the junior coalition partner, is the only political party in the country with legalisation of abortion as a major item in its platform. While some members of other government partner, the Fine Gael party, support the idea, significant tension is said to be growing over Labour’s insistence that a recent European Court of Human Rights decision should be taken to mean the country must institute legalised abortion. Meanwhile, public opinion remains strongly opposed.
Pro-life activists working in this tense political environment have said that the myths surrounding maternal health and abortion – that abortion is “safer” than natural childbirth and that Ireland’s laws restrict the treatment choices of pregnant cancer patients – are at the centre of the storm. While Ireland maintains a near total ban on abortion, the country enjoys one of the highest rates of maternal health in the world according to international health organisations. At the same time, however, abortion lobbyists and their supporters in the mainstream media continue to insist that only legalisation of abortion can fully guarantee pregnant women full access to health care.
A symposium organiser, Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, said that the fields of obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine are “ever expanding with increasing attention being given to high-risk and emergency obstetrics, neonatal care for very premature babies, prenatal diagnosis of fetal abnormalities, and the mental health effects of pregnancy”.
“This is a very welcome opportunity for Irish medical practitioners to learn about the experiences and research outcomes of other jurisdictions,” said Professor O’Dwyer.
Professor Amant’s work is featured on the website Cancer in Pregnancy. He has said in several papers that not only is it possible to save unborn children of women having to undergo chemotherapy, but that those children will be largely unaffected by their mothers’ treatment.
In one study, Amant examined the data and found that of more than 200 children exposed to prenatal chemotherapy drugs, none had any elevated risk of cognitive or developmental delay for up to 18 years. He was quoted by the Daily Telegraph earlier this year, saying, “The patient and her partner should be informed about the different treatment options and the physician should explain that termination of pregnancy does not seem to improve maternal outcome.”
Cross posted from LifeSiteNews.com.
Last night the student pro-life club at Victoria University in Wellington created a Facebook event to advertise a special presentation on abortion and human rights that they are hosting next week.
Not long after the page had gone live, all manner of rabid pro-choicers got on there and started posting the most unintelligent, frighteningly militant (the word ‘fundamentalism’ comes to mind) and downright bizarre comments on the event page.
Here’s a sampling of some of the intellectual delights on offer at the pro-choice buffet last night…
“#ABORTLIFECHOICE and eat all the babies…” (this particular commenter made numerous comments about eating babies throughout the night)
“I ♥ abortions because I hate condoms!”
“It’s been nice trolling you lifechokes… Hope your dad uses a sock from now on.”
“Is Brendan licensed to practice medicine? And if not, will you be letting all attendees know that before he begins speaking?”
“*SPOLIER* Women who have had to make the decision to have an abortion are going to be silenced as being unethical!”
You mean Anti-Choice, right?”
“I’m not even going to dignify this by pretending to have anything other than disgust at the intent of this group and this talk. You’re views are nothing short of hateful, ignorant and downright dangerous to every woman in new Zealand.”
It never ceases to amaze me just how incapable of reasoned debate some people on the pro-choice side of this issue seem to be – to the point of intolerance in fact.
Thankfully not all adherents to the pro-choice ideology are as brutish and unintellectual in their approach to this issue as many of the commenters on last night’s event page were – just to prove to you that there are actually less fundy pro-choice people out there, let me end today’s post with another quote, from someone who is also pro-choice, that appeared on this same page last night:
“I am avidly pro-choice and don’t plan on changing my position, but there needs to be respect when issues like these come along, posting stupid comments or making silly accusations is not on and simply childish. I don’t have an issue with another group having a view, that’s what being pro-choice is. And posting comments like these is what make pro-choicers seem so ‘crazy’… I hate when people think [that this is] what I am when I tell them I’m strongly pro-choice.”