by PETER GRACE
A mother whose teenage daughter tried to kill herself after a secret abortion is asking the Government to change the law so underage girls won’t undergo abortions without their parents’ knowledge.
Hillary Kieft of Stratford presented a petition calling for an amendment to the law to Wanganui MP Chester Borrows on May 25.
Mrs Kieft and her husband Peter found out that their daughter, then 15, had had an abortion organised by her school in 2009, when she tried to hang herself a year later. She was cut down
in the nick of time by her sisters.
Their daughter still suffers from depression, and is now infertile, Mrs Kieft said.
She told NZ Catholic that her daughter still struggles, especially every anniversary. The law had let daughter her down.
Her daughter was managing to work, and had just started counselling the week before, Mrs Kieft said on June 10.
“She’s coming home at the end of August to spend a month or two with us, so that will be good.”
Mrs Kieft said that when she was 15, their daughter was not mature enough to have made a genuinely informed decision on her own.
The reason she hadn’t wanted to tell them about her pregnancy was because she was ashamed and
scared, they found out later. Instead, the girls’ boarding school she attended arranged for her to have an abortion through Family Planning in Hawera.
“One day she didn’t come home and I rang the school and was told she had gone to a counselling
appointment; and she was dropped home later that day.”
That was the day she had the abortion. The school and Family Planning offered no followup counselling.
“She was dumped off at home that day and we were left to deal with the mess, although we didn’t even know what was going on.”
Their daughter’s reaction after her abortion had been “really rough” on the whole family. “My
husband and I were on suicide watch, too scared to go to sleep ourselves, and she wouldn’t open up.”
Mrs Kieft said she knows what her daughter had to deal with, as she had aborted one of her daughter’s siblings when she was 16, something she struggled with for 20 years. “I could write a book,” she said. But finding God had changed everything.
“I had to come to a place of forgiving myself, but it was a long journey. So I can understand as a teenager having an abortion, thinking it was the right thing, but then coming out the
other side straight after the abortion has taken place and [being] totally unsettled with grief.”
Mrs Kieft said her daughter, who now lives with her grandparents in the South Island, was not involved with the petition, but she was in full support of what her mother was doing.
The publicity associated with the petition had brought out vitriolic responses.
“It has been so demonic, it’s not funny.” It had been so bad, that she had had to employ a manager to run a business she had bought recently, so she could just concentrate on dealing with the mixture of publicity and fallout.
“There are some very, very nasty people attacking myself and my daughter.
“We wanted to protect our daughter, but there are some people who want her name out there, think her name should be out there.”
Mrs Kieft said their daughter is constantly reliving her decision of six years ago. “If she could go back and change it, she would. Every anniversary of the abortion, she falls apart.”