The Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ) has just published something they are calling a ‘fact sheet’, entitled 16 Reasons to Change NZ’s Abortion Laws – you can read it here.
Despite being called a ‘fact sheet’, facts are the one thing this manifesto is rather short on, instead it presents a slew of contradictory, confused and even pointlessly repetitious statements all aimed at convincing people that a new extreme abortion law should be introduced in NZ.
Let me respond to ALRANZ… one point at a time:
Reason number 1 completely misses the important point that all laws cost money to administer, so the question is not is $5 million too much to spend, but rather: is that $5 million being spent properly? Even if the answer to that question is ‘no’, this would still NOT provide a justification for introducing a new extreme abortion law into New Zealand, instead it would simply be a reason to tighten the loopholes and fix the current misspending of that $5 million. ALRANZ also seem to be unaware of the fact that changing any major law is a costly exercise, and that the process involved in doing this would be funded by the NZ taxpayer.
Reason number 2 spells out (in the final sentence: “There is no need to have specified grounds for abortion”) that ALRANZ clearly wants an extreme abortion law introduced in New Zealand, one with ZERO restrictions – meaning that things such as late term and sex-selective abortions which target female babies based on their gender would be able to take place in NZ.
Reason number 3 is both heinous in its hypocrisy, and NOT a reason to change the law – instead it is merely a reason to change certain specific wording, but not the entire framework, of the current law.
This reason is obscenely hypocritical in the fact that it claims that the current law is demeaning to persons with disabilities, but then later, in reason number 9, ALRANZ wants the current law loosened so that these very same persons with disabilities can be aborted prior to birth at a much later gestational age then is currently legally permitted.
So, according to ALRANZ referring to persons with disabilities in a demeaning way is not acceptable, but killing them before birth is perfectly okay.
Reason number 4 contains both blatantly false claims and truly bizarre ones. It claims that the current law punishes women for contraceptive mistakes, but this is clearly untrue when you consider the fact that nearly 50% of women having abortions in this country each year do so after a contraception failure or misuse leading to pregnancy. Another large percentage of women weren’t even using contraception, and they still managed to access abortions.
The final sentence (“Women want to give their children the best start in life”) is truly bizarre. Killing an unborn human being results in the worst possible outcome for their young life, and established risks factors associated with abortion, such as subsequent premature birth, are clearly NOT in the interests of any future children a woman may have either. The risk of subsequent psychological and relationship harm for the mother, are also clearly not in the best interests of any current children a woman might have at the time of her abortion.
Reason number 5 just repeats reason number one again, but this time it starts by adding in the totally false claims that the current law is inequitable, and that rural women would be advantaged if the law was changed. In what way is the current law inequitable, and in what way exactly are rural women currently disadvantaged? More importantly; how will either of these supposed problems be fixed by the introduction of an extreme abortion law in NZ?!
Reason number 6 contains many questionable aspects. Firstly, it seems that ALRANZ is advocating for early medical abortions, yet such abortions are definitely NOT safer than later surgical abortions as ALRANZ falsely claims here.
This reason also seems to be calling for the introduction of a drive-through abortion service in New Zealand, which, longstanding experience clearly shows would disadvantage women by increasing the risk of hasty decisions without proper informed consent – this would increase the risk of subsequent emotional and psychological harm to the women involved.
Reason number 7 is yet MORE repetition of a previous reason – it is nothing more than the regurgitation of the totally unsubstantiated claims that were made in reason number 5.
Reason number 8 is rather odd, in that it highlights what ALRANZ perceives to be a flaw in the way the current law is currently being executed, but then provides no concrete evidence of how this would improve with the introduction of an extreme abortion law in NZ. At best, this claim would simply be a justification for tightening the current law, rather than dispensing with it altogether.
More importantly, what ALRANZ identifies here as flouting the current law actually seem like common sense practises that allow women the chance to give truly informed consent to their decision, rather than being rushed or locked into the decision far too early.
Reason number 9, as mentioned earlier, is an obscene contraction of ALRANZ’s supposed commitment to the rights and well being of persons with disability that they claim to care about in reason number 3.
Reason number 10 is correct, but not for the reasons ALRANZ claims. Our current laws definitely are outdated, largely due to the fact that they were arrived at well before we had our current awareness about human development in the womb, or the same commitment and understanding of the importance of informed consent, or the serious risk factors associated with abortion.
Reason number 11 starts with blatant dishonestly and then ends with unintended irony. The opening claim that parliamentarians currently choose whether or not a NZ woman gets to have an abortion is clearly a falsehood. The final statement is ironic in the fact that the current law definitely does not provide proper informed consent – most women who go through the abortion process in NZ would be completely unaware of the risks they have exposed themselves to, or the other support options open to them offering alternatives to abortion. This call for informed consent is ironic coming from ALRANZ, considering that they have consistently and staunchly tried to deny the clear scientific evidence of abortion harms such as subsequent psychological trauma.
Reason number 12 is very troubling, because in it ALRANZ clearly seems to be advocating to have dangerous unsupervised DIY abortions (which could be carried out with illegally imported and dangerous knock-off abortion drugs) legalised. Has ALRANZ ever stopped to consider that perhaps the reason that no prosecutions are ever made is because dangerous DIY abortions are very rare in NZ due to current controls over the practice of abortion, and that introducing the extreme abortion law that ALRANZ wants would change all of this and expose women to serious harms?
Reason number 13 is just plain frightening, because in it ALRANZ is advocating for the removal of the right to freedom of conscience for medical practitioners in New Zealand. This is a very important and longstanding right that was upheld again by the NZ High Court at the end of 2010, and yet ALRANZ is now trying to convince our politicians to overrule the NZ High Court on the matter. One can assume that the only reason that ALRANZ is advocating such a dangerous policy (one which would see doctors lose their right to freedom of conscience, making them unthinking puppets of the system) is because they are struggling to find NZ doctors willing to participate or openly endorse the extreme pro-abortion positions held by ALRANZ.
Reason number 14 is yet another blatant falsehood. Abortion is NOT and NEVER has been a human right, yet here ALRANZ is trying to present it as if it is. Pro-abortion pressure groups (similar to ALRANZ) around the world have tried to advocate for such an extreme position, but this has not garnered widespread support because most people clearly consider abortion something to be legally tolerated rather than something that could ever be legitimately enshrined as a human right.
Reason number 15 is possibly one of the most clear cut falsehoods in this entire document – to claim that NZ’s current legal framework for abortion, a framework which allows individual women to choose or to reject abortion based on personal decision, is undemocratic is just plain ludicrous. As is the suggestion that pro-lifers are somehow imposing anti-abortion views on others. The blatant hypocrisy of such claims is astounding. Just consider that this is coming from the very same organisation which, just a couple of sentences ago, was calling for NZ doctors to have pro-abortion views imposed on them!
Reason number 16 is yet another contradiction, one that completely blows large portions of this very ALRANZ pamphlet completely out of the water. Just think about what ALRANZ is saying here: they are claiming that the current NZ laws actually allow large numbers of NZ women to have easy access to abortion each year. Yet isn’t the entire point of this so-called ‘fact sheet’ to try and convince the NZ public that the current laws are too restrictive and as a result many women DON’T have easy access to abortion in this country? If this is the case, then how can ALRANZ now be telling us that large numbers of women currently have easy access to abortion in NZ?!
At the end of the day, once you get past the contradictions, falsehoods and shallow reasoning, it becomes abundantly clear that there is NO solid reason to introduce the type of new extreme abortion law in this country that ALRANZ is agitating for.
This very same model of extreme abortion was introduced in Melbourne in 2008, and it has subsequently resulted in abortion-up-to-birth being legalised, the investigation of doctors for refusing to refer patients for gender-selective abortions that target unborn females, a 600% increase in late-term abortions in one Melbourne hospital, and babies left to die andeven drowned in buckets of formaldehyde after botched late term abortions.
ALRANZ is dreaming if if thinks that the majority of New Zealanders want such things taking place here as well.
Cross-posted from Brendan Malone at The Leading Edge Blog.