Bishops deeply disappointed at new law’s disregard for rights of unborn


The New Zealand Catholic Bishops are deeply disappointed that the New Zealand Parliament last night passed the Abortion Legislation Bill by a margin of 68 to 51.

“This Bill totally ignores the fact that there are always at least two human lives involved in every pregnancy,” said a spokesperson for the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, Ms Cynthia Piper.

“There is no longer any recognition of the rights of the unborn child in this new law,” said Ms Piper, a lecturer for the Church’s Te Kupenga – Catholic Leadership Institute, speaking on behalf of New Zealand’s Catholic bishops.

“That is a travesty of human rights. To hold that the fetus is not a legal person ignores the reality that a genetically unique human life has begun which is neither that of the mother or the father. That the law fails to recognise this does not change what is a biological and human fact.”

The Bishops Conference also believes the new law will fail many women.

“Those of us who have experience of supporting women with so-called unwanted pregnancies, or women who have had abortions, know only too well the coercive realities that drive many women to have an abortion that they later regret,” said Ms Piper.

“That is why we have argued consistently that it is in women’s best interests that the legal pathway to an abortion needs to be robust. This law does nothing to help those women who, for a variety of reasons, choose an abortion because they feel they have no other choice, whether that is because of partner pressure or for economic or social reasons.

“Neither does this law do anything to reduce the overall number of abortions, something that a majority of New Zealanders have consistently said they want. It has been rushed through and is ill-considered in so many ways.”

Furthermore, the bishops are absolutely dismayed that MPs voted down a host of sensible amendments that would have made the new legislation much more compassionate, said Ms Piper. “These included amendments that would have required babies born alive to be cared for like any other child, a ban on sex selection abortions and a ban on disability discrimination abortions.”

NZ Catholic Staff

Reader Interactions


  1. Hamish MacDonald says

    There is precious little Bishops can do with the model of the current church they support and attempt to preserve.
    The trend towards this problem grows by day along with porn, drugs, and euthanasia. It has been going on since TV arrived.
    The answer lies in improving the contradiction; in this case, it is growth in personal prayer, a deeper prayer,
    both accentuated by and born of asceticism.
    You can’t have it both ways.
    You must have fasting. How many fast during Lent purely because it is Lent?
    It used to be fasting EVERY day.
    The emerging problem is the birthrate. In a few years, countries once Christian may not be-purely on the number of Catholic births.
    ONLY when the church recognises such entities that promote mysticism, promote asceticism will there ever be a chance for Catholicism to solidify into a strong bulwark of defense.
    What Bishops CAN do, is encourage lay people to rise up and be Christian leaders, instead of claiming to be custodians of faith who somehow can dictate terms of reference. That means they need to practice what they expect must come from their dioceses. It means they need to look again at the reason behind the request for fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays of every week. They need only to address a group that number among the 40,000,000 plus pilgrims to Medjugorje. They will then get someone to bounce off like Pope Benedict XVI did just before he addressed the US. But if they speak to the average parishioner who expects priesthood to make a move before they do, they will get into a bigger quicksand than ever.
    Furthermore, once laws have been passed by the social left (which the current PM of NZ represents), it is very hard to have them repealed.
    First things first.
    1. cut back on TV.
    2. Fast EACH week
    3. Pray EVERY day. One rosary the minimum.

  2. Gregory says

    Please, please, please, as the Bishop of a Diocese, (you’re a prince!) on such fundamental issues that demand personal courage do stop hiding behind the corporate speak of “bishop’s conference” and delegated “spokespersons” from non-ecclesial think-tank committees. Front up!

    I seriously wonder if the pallid language is because priests and bishops, like the progressive politicians who vote this horror in, usually come from non-medical, humanities type backgrounds that they seem to struggle to imagine the depraved grotesquery of abortion. Subsequently there’s a struggle to elicit the corresponding responses. Rather, it always seems a little academic, philosophical, wait and see, partial, careful, middling, diplomatic, plausibly deniable or affirmed, pusillanimous, – “argued consistently”, “robust”, “dismayed”. Dismayed? I get dismayed at a parking ticket. Perhaps we need a thesaurus too…?

  3. Gregory says

    I know this is old news now, but it is worth considering Church strategy on this issue. Abortion was originally legalized in NZ when I was less that 10 years old. Now I’m in my 40s and it is now completely free for all.
    Over that time I recall maybe 2-3 homilies that directly addressed abortion and that is been generous. Also over that 30 or so years it has been my impression that “pro-life” was always a fringe position, somewhat like been overly interested in novenas or Fatima apparitions.

    So, as a rank n file observer, I seriously question the true acumen and actual strategy that has been applied over the last 30-40 years. I did not see clerical photo-op outside hospitals (as we saw with Climate marches) and I have not seen theatrical actions such as blood throwing (as was done by a NZ priest to a US ambassador) or passionate interference (such as the cutting of the Waihopea domes by a priest). Neither did I hear consistent direction on the corrosive evil of abortion and our moral obligations.
    Thus, you get what you planned for over the course of 30-40 years. A Bernadinian “seamless garment”, which is a crumpled mess.

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