The Abortion Legislation Bill heads to its final reading in the next two weeks. It will completely remove all protection for unborn children. The Bill simply assumes the unborn child has no humanity or person-hood. The only person whose interests it addresses is the mother.
The last time our country made changes to abortion law was in 1977. It was done after major public consultation and serious consideration of the ethical issues involved by a Royal Commission. The Commission also reviewed the medical and scientific evidence on the issue. It concluded that life should be understood as beginning at conception. The subsequent Act was framed on that basis. It attempted to balance the interests of both the mother and the unborn child.
The current legislation has undergone no such process. Those promoting the Bill have decided no such consideration is required on the matter. The profound question of when life begins is simply ignored. The humanity and life of children in their mother’s womb, is simply assumed away. Instead of reviewing new evidence and thinking deeply on the ethical issues involved, we are merely offered the vacuous slogan that “times have changed”.
The arrogance of this position is breathtaking. And it is an arrogance that has characterised everything about this Bill. It was rammed through the Select Committee process. Nearly all those who wanted to make oral submissions were ignored. It is now being pushed quickly through its second and final readings. To make changes in this way on such a profound matter, is an insult to our democracy and to all New Zealanders.
Our Prime Minister likes to be known as an advocate of kindness and tolerance. There is no kindness here for children in their mother’s womb. And there is no tolerance for those who would give them voice.