In blog, viral

Something rather surprising happened on our Facebook page yesterday – something which raises serious questions about the Greens new abortion policy.

Yesterday one of our Facebook posts attracted the attention of Leah Haines.

Leah Haines isn’t just any old commenter though. According to her Facebook profile she is also the “Political and Media Advisor at Green Party of Aotearora New Zealand.”

We did some checking around, and sure enough, Leah Haines’ name appears on official Green Party press releases as their ‘Political and Media Advisor’, there is a Linkedin profile bearing her name which also backs this up, and a article reports that she joined the Greens in this capacity a couple of years ago.

So it seems apparent that this is the same Leah Haines who works for the Green Party as a political and media advisor.

This was also seemingly verified when she accidentally replied to one of our posts while logged in as the “Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand” (this screen shot comes from the phone of one of our Facebook page administrators – the post had been deleted by the time we opened the Facebook thread on a computer screen).

Which is what makes what happened next absolutely astounding.

Leah Haines posted a statement, in which she made the following claim:

“The [current abortion] law does NOT STATE that [abortion on the grounds of disability is illegal after 20 weeks] at all. The law says abortion is illegal. Full stop.”

Here’s a screenshot of the actual comment, in full, as it actually appeared on our Facebook page:

Greens Media Spokesperson

The major problem here, of course, is that both of these claims are blatantly false.

The current law definitely DOES ban abortions on the grounds of disability after 20 weeks, and it definitely does NOT say that abortion is “illegal. full stop.”

Here’s the exact wording of the relevant part of Section 187A of the Crimes Act (relevant emphasis added):

(1) For the purposes of sections 183 and 186, any act specified in either of those sections is done unlawfully UNLESS, in the case of a pregnancy of not more than 20 weeks’ gestation, the person doing the act believes—

(a) that the continuance of the pregnancy would result in serious danger (not being danger normally attendant upon childbirth) to the life, or to the physical or mental health, of the woman or girl; or

(aa) that there is a substantial risk that the child, if born, would be so physically or mentally abnormal as to be seriously handicapped; or

(b) that the pregnancy is the result of sexual intercourse between—

(i) a parent and child; or
(ii) a brother and sister, whether of the whole blood or of the half blood; or
(iii) a grandparent and grandchild; or

(c) that the pregnancy is the result of sexual intercourse that constitutes an offence against section 131(1); or

(d) that the woman or girl is severely subnormal within the meaning of section 138(2).

What makes this incident so astounding is the fact that the Green Party Political and Media Advisor presented a completely false and incorrect version of what the current abortion actually states, and then proceeded to accuse ProLife NZ of “dishonest purposes.”

Assuming that this is the real Leah Haines, and that she is still employed as a media and political advisor to the Greens, some important questions arise:

If the Greens’ own media and political advisor doesn’t even know what the current law states (or is choosing to deliberately misrepresent it), then what does this say about the Greens abortion policy?

How many other Greens are working under the same false assumptions and misinformation about current abortion law in NZ?

Have any Green Party representatives actually read the current law?

Do the architects of this policy believe this same falsehood about the current law – and if so, doesn’t this actually mean that there is no sound basis or need for this policy?

Have the Greens even spoken about this policy as a team, or is this just something that ALRANZ (the Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ) has written and supplied to a couple of Green MPs who are now acting unilaterally without much official oversight or input?

Did the Green Party leaders; Russell Norman and Metiria Turei, authorise Leah Haines to make false statements about the NZ abortion law?

What was their role in the new abortion policy?

Are there other statements being made by the Greens about this new policy, or current NZ abortion laws, that are also false?

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