In the months since they launched their abortion policy, the NZ Green Party have been adamant in their public assertions that their new policy will not legalise abortion-up-to-birth for persons with disabilities – but new developments now cast serious doubts on the validity of those claims.
The original wording of the policy when it was launched was (emphasis added):
“…the Green Party will… allow terminations after 20 weeks gestation only when the woman would otherwise face serious permanent injury to her health, or in the case of severe fetal abnormalities (as is current practice).”
Anyone with even just a basic awareness of these issues was immediately able to see the major problem with this part of the policy – the term ‘severe fetal abnormalities’ is a highly subjective term that is often used to describe various disabilities, meaning that the policy would result in abortion-up-to-birh for persons with disabilities as long as they were described as ‘fetal abnormalities’.
One of the Green Party architects of their abortion bill immediately tried to reassure the public that what they really meant was “unsurvivable conditions” which are “incompatible with life.”
But despite this reassurance that there was nothing wrong, the wording of the policy was speedily changed (a clear indication that, regardless of their public claims, the Greens knew full well that their policy would result in abortion-up-to-birth on the grounds of disability).
That statement in the policy was subsequently changed to:
“… the Green Party will… Allow terminations after 20 weeks only according to current practice.”
(What is immediately obvious about this statement is the complete lack of the terms ‘severe lethal anomalies’, or ‘unsurvivable conditions incompatible with life’ – despite the fact that the Greens publicly claimed that this was what the intention of that section of the policy was supposed to be.)
As mentioned yesterday, the new wording still doesn’t actually resolve this issue.
But things have just got even murkier, because yesterday I was alerted to an official statement from Green MP Jan Logie, that was published on the Green Party website on Saturday 9 August, in which she states the following (emphasis added):
“The Green Party’s policy would allow terminations after 20 weeks gestation only when the woman would otherwise face serious permanent injury to her health or in the case of severe fetal abnormalities“
This statement was issued exactly two months after the Green Party abortion policy was announced, and more than a month after it was supposedly changed, yet it contains the exact same wording (about fetal abnormalities) from the original version of the policy that other Green spokespeople have been claiming is no longer Green Party policy.
This indicates that the Greens haven’t actually changed their stance at all, and are still actively trying to usher in a policy that will legalise abortion-up-to-birth for persons with disabilities.
Now it could be tempting to write this off as some sort of major public relations blunder on the part of the Greens if it weren’t for three very important facts:
Firstly, this comment was made in a public statement about the Green Party abortion policy by a senior Green MP who is one of the key players behind this policy.
Secondly, Jan Logie issued her public statement many weeks after the policy was supposedly changed.
Thirdly, just yesterday Right To Life issued a press release stating that Jan Logie refused to answer the following written question that they submitted to her (along with six others) for an answer:
“Would you permit abortions after 20 weeks for Down syndrome and Spina Bifida?”
Why would she not answer this question if the intention of the Green Party is supposedly not to legalise such abortions, and especially given the massive controversy this aspect of their policy has generated – controversy she would have been well aware of.
Needless to say, these are VERY troubling developments that seem to indicate that the Greens (or, at the very least, a senior Green MP driving this policy) definitely are in favour of a law change that will legalise abortion-up-to-birth for persons with disabilities in this country.