It’s been almost 3 weeks since MP Chester Borrows presented a petition to parliament on your behalf of a Kiwi mother (who almost lost her daughter to suicide after a secret underage abortion) asking that the NZ law be amended to require parental notification for all abortions under the age of sixteen.
The public support for this change has been overwhelming, yet, sadly this hasn’t stopped a predicable onslaught of baseless attacks and character slurs from pro-choice activists and abortion lobby groups.
A lot of individuals and groups have completely misrepresented the actual petition, falsely claiming that it is asking for parental CONSENT (parents have to give their permission), when in actual fact it is merely parental NOTIFICATION (parents only have to be informed about what is happening) that the petition is seeking.
Others have claimed that instituting such a simple change will risk the lives of Kiwi young people.
Have these people not even bothered to stop and consider the actual incident that led to this petition?
It was the CURRENT law that almost cost the life of a young girl to suicide, and it was also the CURRENT law that probably contributed to the infertility that she must now tragically live with as a direct result of her secret abortion (if her parents had known, they would have supported her, and it is quite conceivable that she would have kept the child and would not now be infertile because of the secret abortion.)
The current law also allows sexual predators who work in schools to hide their crimes by arranging secret abortions to cover any sex they might be engaging in with vulnerable underage female students.
Then there is the fact that the current law allows statutory rape to go unreported and hidden, not just from parents, but from the authorities.
The current law is also completely inconsistent with all other areas of legislation which prevent children from being subjected to serious (and often not-so-serious, compared to an abortion) medical procedures and interventions without parental notification or consent.
The current law even allows girls to be secretly transported to and from their school, to a completely different location in their town or city, without their parents even knowing that this is taking place.
What would happen if a young girl was killed in a car accident, for example, while traveling to/from one of these secret underage abortions?
Or what if a vulnerable young girl became the victim of a crime while travelling to and from the abortion clinic?
Would the lies and irresponsible hiding of the truth from parents continue then as well?
One of the rather glaring omissions from the recent debate has been any actual hard proof that changing the law will definitely result in the dangers that supporters of keeping the status quo keep claiming will come to pass if things are changed.
And even in the minority of cases where the risk of abuse does exist, surely our existing child protection laws that allow CYPFs to intervene and protect children from harm would also apply to those situations without the need for the current badly crafted current secret abortion legislation?
What the opponents of this law change are ultimately suggesting is that majority of Kiwi parents, who are good people, and who care deeply for their children, must be governed by a law that allows other adult strangers to secretly arrange abortions for their underage daughters, even though this leaves tens of thousands of New Zealand girls vulnerable to the serious dangers that Hilary Kieft, the mother who kicked this all off 3 weeks ago, experienced in her family.
And while we’re talking about Hilary Kieft, it has been extremely sad to see pro-choice activists attacking her character, and making all sorts of ridiculous and hurtful allegations about her (and her husband’s) parenting abilities.
One of the most naive things people have been suggesting in online forums is that the current law doesn’t pose any danger as long as parents maintain a good relationship with their children. Anyone who has ever worked with young people, and who understands the multitude of social and personal pressures that they face, even when they come from good homes, knows that this argument is completely out of touch with reality.
Young people are awesome, but they are also often very easily swayed in their decision-making by whichever voice happens to be the most prominent at the time (regardless of how close they are to their parents). They are also often very easily subject to allowing fear (especially the fear of letting their parents down – regardless of whether that is true or not) to majorly cloud their judgment.
This is precisely why parents need to be involved in such a serious life situation as an unplanned pregnancy – which can often be a messy and complicated affair, but one that is always most suited to parental love and care, not input from adults who will never know the girl as intimately as her parents do, and who are not going to be there to pick up the broken pieces once the current pressure has passed and final decisions have been made.
Surely changing this law to require simple parental notification is just basic common sense?
Or do we have to wait until the day when a NZ parent receives a totally unexpected phone call to tell them that their child is now lying in a hospital bed, in a critical condition caused by complications from a surgical procedure that other adult strangers secretly arranged and counselled their 15 year old daughter to undergo?