When the Green Party announced their new abortion policy they attracted a lot of controversy, and in the subsequent days they did their best to quell the negative public reaction.
One of the key controversies surrounding their policy was their plan to legalise abortion AFTER 20 weeks for “severe fetal anomalies” – a term so dangerously subjective that it can, and is already, applied to persons with disabilities.
Now various Green Party spokespeople tried their best to reassure the public by stating that, rather than just “severe fetal anomalies” what they really meant was lethal anomalies that are not compatible with life.
Which is why I am now really struggling to get my head around the latest change to their abortion policy.
Sometime in the past few days, the wording of the Green Party abortion policy has been changed, so that the clause regarding abortion AFTER 20 weeks now reads:
“…the Green Party will: Allow terminations after 20 weeks only according to current practice.”
Yes, that’s right, the wording of the clause that has probably generated some of the most controversy for the Green Party so far, has now been made even worse than it already was.
According to evidence collected by Mike Sullivan of Saving Downs NZ (and others), current practice already includes abortion of persons with disabilities AFTER 20 weeks.
So, if the Greens plan to legalise what is currently taking place, does this mean that they will be legalising the current practice of aborting persons with disabilities after 20 weeks?
And if so, does this mean that they were lying to public last week when they claimed that their policy would not do this?
Remember; according to the wording of the Green Policy, which sets no upper gestational limit, this would then make abortion on the grounds of disability legal up to birth.
This wording change to their policy is truly astounding, and it seems to completely undermine their claims that this clause was only about lethal fetal anomalies that are not compatible with life.
A special meeting would have been held to deliberate on the rewording of this policy, and instead of clearly spelling out what they were publicly claiming lat week was their stated aim with this clause, they have instead chosen NOT to explicitly exclude disability as a grounds for abortion after 20 weeks.
Rather, they have made this clause even vaguer, and opened wide the door for legalising the abortion of persons with disabilities right up to birth.
If the Greens really are telling the truth when they claim that this clause will not apply to persons with disability, then why did they not reword their policy to explicitly exclude persons with disabilities, and to include the specific terminology of ‘lethal anomalies that are not compatible with life’?
Even the staunchest of Green Party apologists is going to have a hard time explaining this latest development as a move toward a greater protection for persons with disabilities.
When they had the opportunity to actually make their so-called position crystal clear, with a policy rewrite, they instead opted for an even more problematic and vague wording of the clause.
What this strongly suggests is that the Green Party simply cannot be trusted on this issue, and that they are not being totally honest with the voting public of New Zealand about what they really intend to legalise here in NZ.