Dispelling lie on abortion decriminalisation

A pro-life supporter holds up a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington March 2 on the morning the court heard oral arguments in a challenge to a Texas law imposing new standards on abortion clinics and requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges. (CNS photo/Kevin Lamarque, Reuters) See SCOTUS-TEXAS-ABORTION March 2, 2016.

by Gordon Copeland

The following was published in a recent Dominion Post in answer to questions to Jacinda Ardern, from journalist Hendry Cooke:

Q. What is your stance on the current abortion laws? A. I am on record on this one — I feel very strongly that abortion needs to be removed from the Crimes Act, and our current legislation is due for review. 
I was appalled to read this for two reasons. Because human life is sacred and because the answer is based on a falsehood. Let me explain the second reason.

During the 2014 election campaign I was asked the question by a group of young women “why is a women who has an abortion regarded as a criminal in New Zealand?”

I  was taken aback by the question, but quickly explained that that abortions which meet the criteria outlined in the Crimes Act are lawful and that the women is not criminalised even if the abortion is unlawful. Rather, in the case of unlawful abortions, it is the abortionist who will go to jail under the Crimes Act.

Later I learned that this lie was coming from the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) who have spread it far and wide. I read that both the Young Labour and Young Green groups had adopted this lie by way of a policy resolution. It is now Green Party policy!

Then earlier this year both Andrew Little and Jacinda Ardern were calling for the decriminalisation of abortion. A war of words resulted from that in the Dominion Post with ALRANZ and Margaret Sparrow leading the charge in Op-eds, and my responding to explain the actual legal position.   To avoid doubt I attached the present Crimes Act position.

Later I learned that Labour under Andrew Little, had dropped decriminalisation as policy and instead decided to refer the matter of abortion to the Law Commission, but now the new leader would seem to have adopted decriminalisation as Labour’s policy.

This needs to be promoted as widely as possible so that all Christians and other pro-life New Zealanders are informed of this development.

So what would decriminalisation mean?

The 20 weeks gestation boundary would go and abortions could be performed up to and including during the birth of a baby i.e. partial birth abortions.

Abortions could be undertaken for any or no reason on both women and girls.

The number of babies aborted would increase significantly.

The number of coerced abortions would increase and coercion is evil.

Let’s do all we can to prevent this from happening. As Lord Acton observed “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing”. Love and compassion for women and girls who find themselves in difficulty when pregnancy is unexpected would be even worse than it is now.

Gordon Copeland is a former financial administrator of the archdiocese of Wellington and a former Member of Parliament. He is not currently affiliated to any political party.

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