Vote Choice: Social Media Round-up

22 Aug

voteForChoice_Page_2We will return to our regularly scheduled coverage of party leader’s position on abortion. Meanwhile, this week’s Vote Choice series focuses on what we have heard from supporters across social media. We’ve also listed some interesting resources that can help inform your voting decision at the end.

Currently featuring on the Facebook page, Abortion and the 2014 Election, are discussions on women candidates and their position on abortion. Here are three interesting ones:

The personal is not so political

A common refrain heard in the political stratosphere is “I am personally pro-choice BUT would not vote for change because …. “(you fill in the blanks). Enter Melissa Lee, National List MP, who said at the National Council of Women’s (NCW’s) Auckland branch political forum that she was personally supportive but would not vote for liberalising the law because of the conservative Korean[1] Christian community who she feels she represents. A very interesting point raised by one of the commenters, what about all the non-conservative Korean Christians she represents?

The flip-flop (although with a question mark)

On an NZ women in politics website (sorry can’t find the link), it was quoted that Tracey Martin, NZ First List MP, “… is pro-choice and would like to see more work done to find out ‘how women find themselves in the situation where they require these [abortion] services’. Additionally, Tracey would like to see greater efforts in identifying and supplying the support services women require to avoid the need for these services altogether”. ALRANZ has traditionally supported this view of Martin and listed her in the pro-choice camp.

However, looking at Family First’s survey of candidates (and yes, this is a website worth looking at as it provides a very useful array of opinions by candidates), she is down as opposing law reform. As posited on Facebook, did someone from NZ First respond for all the candidates or has Tracey Martin flip-flopped? If someone gets the opportunity, please ask her!  

The ‘why you got to be like that?’

As previously expressed in our piece on David Cunliffe (David Cunliffe and the Pro-choice Side step), we are not overly enamored with the idea of a Law Commission review. This is apparently the line that current Labour List MP and candidate in Maungakiekie, Carol Beaumont is also sticking to. Paraphrasing from her participation in the same NCW forum as Melissa Lee, Beaumont is personally supportive of law reform, but also supportive of a Law Commission review, which she believes will deliver a pro-choice outcome.

It is very disappointing to see that while Labour makes positive noises about women’s reproductive health (see the link to their Women’s Policy below), their dedication to law reform remains lukewarm.

For further reading and information, check out:

Link to the Family First page – http://valueyourvote.org.nz/2014-general-election/. Obviously look for the sad faces as these are the pro-reproductive right happy faces!

Link to Labour’s Women’s policy – https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/default/files/issues/policy-women_0.pdf . The statement about reviewing the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (CS&A) Act is under Women’s health, reproductive health towards the end of the document.

University of Victoria’s newspaper, Salient, has a good round up of party positions on abortion – http://salient.org.nz/features/interviews-with-mps-on-womens-issues

Vote Compass, which is a collaboration between TVNZ and a series of partners, including the Election Commission that ranks your answers to a series of questions and lets you know which party most aligns with your views – http://tvnz.co.nz/votecompass .

Note there is a question on abortion, which is under the ‘moral issues’ section, asking if you would support abortion up to 20 weeks without medical approval (reinforcing both an arbitrary gestational limit with no basis in medicine and the idea that abortion is a moral, not a health issue). But at least they are asking the question, right?!

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[1] For those interested, abortion laws in South Korea are technically restrictive. Abortion is only allowed in instances of rape, incest or severe genetic disorders as per 1953 Criminal Code of the Republic of Korea (according to a 23 August 2012 article in the Guardian). However, a UN document from the Population Policy Data Bank on abortion in Korea states that abortion practice does not reflect the law, and abortion is widely available in the country. Sound familiar?

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Solidarity Demo; Letter to Ireland

19 Aug

Prochoice advocates are holding a solidarity demo tomorrow (Wed, 20 Aug) from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. outside the Irish Consulate at 205 Queen Street in Auckland. The demos are to support rallies across Ireland and Europe also on the 20th protesting the latest horrendous case of what can only be considered the torture of a pregnant woman.

Here is a link to the Facebook Event.

Make some signs. Wear some green.

Background Reading:

Irish Times: They said they could not do an abortion. I said, ‘You can leave me now to die. I don’t want to live in this world anymore’

Sunday Times: State denied abortion to rape victim

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Irish_Demo2

Letter to the Irish Government

Like most people around the world the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ) was saddened and appalled by the most recent denial of of yet another pregnant person’s reproductive rights. The continued refusal of the current and subsequent Irish governments to do anything more than the bare minimum to ensure access (I.e the right to travel and information) to abortion services is beyond disappointing, it is an infringement on a woman’s human right to health and to be free from torture.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for a young woman to flee persecution in one country only to be confronted with more of the same in a country that was supposed to be a safe haven? To exchange one violation of her body through sexual assault for another form; to have your body commandeered by a government and forced to not only carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, but forcibly fed with liquids, and cut open by a doctor sworn to do no harm. What kind of world are you, the Irish Government, bringing this child into when you absolutely refuse to acknowledge its mother’s basic humanity?

For what purpose and to what end? In the name of preserving some notion of an Irish, postcolonial identity as sanctified in the 1937 Constitution where a woman’s position is clearly defined in relationship to her ability to reproduce the nation: mothers/incubators, not autonomous beings charged with determining their own reproductive destinies. The desire to sustain the nascent Irish state has lead to women’s bodies being a key battle ground for this contestation; to cleanse the liberalising, pro-abortion influences of the British from the Republic. And yet, it would seem the majority of the Irish people have moved on. Year on year, polls produce increasing not decreasing support for access to abortion. Referendums in 1993 and 2002 both failed in their goals of trying to roll back the decision in the X case.

Why is it only politicians who are trapped in anachronistic understandings of reproductive rights? Would the status quo still operate without external forces intervening? It took the European Court of Human Rights and the unnecessary death of Savita Halappanavar to finally bring in legislation around the X case. A full 30 years after the 1983 8th Amendment equated the right to life of the fetus with its mother, and 21 years since the X case when the then Government interned a 14 year old rape victim in the country, refusing her right to travel for an abortion in England. Even the recently passed Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act is badly flawed as suggested by multiple, venerable medical professionals and activists before it was passed. And who is left to bear the brunt of this ineptitude? Pregnant people.

It is time for this to end. No more women should be tortured like this young asylum seeker. Abortion should not just be for those with the privilege and means to be able to access abortion off shore. ALRANZ calls on the Irish Government to do what it should have done 30 years ago- repeal the 8th Amendment. Send the message that you trust women to make decisions about their bodies; not the medical community, not the Catholic Church and not you, the legislators. Repeal, repeal, repeal. It is the only humane option left.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Morgan Healey
On behalf of ALRANZ

My Decision. Kei a au te Whakataunga.

17 Aug

My Decision. Kei a au te Whakataunga
mydecision.org.nz

 

MEDIA RELEASE                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

17 August 2014

NEW WEBSITE LISTS DOCTORS WHO OPPOSE CONTRACEPTION

A new grassroots project aimed at sharing information about doctors and other medical professionals who hinder reproductive health-care access because of moral or religious reasons is being launched today online.

Called My Decision/Kei a au te Whakataunga (www.mydecision.org.nz), the project invites people seeking services like contraception or abortion to report any experiences of hostile or unhelpful health professionals to the website.

myDecision_flyerFbTile copyBut the site is not just for patients. My Decision spokesperson Terry Bellamak said organisers were also inviting doctors and others who “conscientiously object” to some services to list what options they do and do not offer.

“From the standpoint of consumer protection, it makes no sense to keep potential patients in the dark about their health care providers’ intentions. ‘Conscientious objectors’ who agree can demonstrate their good faith by registering on our site,” she said.

Ms. Bellamak said the project, which has been a year in the making, was sparked in part by the 2010 court judgment that expanded conscientious objection rights of doctors, and the Medical Council’s subsequent decision not to mount a challenge, nor to publish doctors’ conscientious objection status on their website.

Since then, there have been several worrying cases, including one in Blenheim last year, when a woman was denied contraception by a doctor who was reported as saying he didn’t “want to interfere with the process of producing life“.

“In the spirit of the old ‘Hot and Cold Doctor files’ compiled by women’s health activists in the 1970s, we decided we’d have to do this work ourselves,” Ms. Bellamak said.

For more information:
mydecision.org.nz
mydecisionnz@gmail.com

 

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Vote Choice: Colin Craig of the Conservative Party

11 Aug

vote-for-choice-round_1This is the first election that may bring Colin Craig into Parliament, so we took a look at Bob McCoskrie’s “Forum on the Family 2014″ interview with him.

Firstly, on parental notification (from 21.19 in this YouTube video)

CC: Oh, absolutely. Hey, I’d change it if I could, absolutely – I’d propose it. I think it’s long overdue that we recognize that an exception to what is otherwise a generally accepted principle, which is that parents or guardians are consulted around the medical issues of children, simply shouldn’t be made on this issue – it shouldn’t be made on any issue. When did we think that separating children from their parents was the smart way to go? It’s not, it’s another breakdown of what I believe is the basic institution of society, which is the family. You start getting the law in there and prying apart those relationships, and isolating a child in a particular circumstance, which could be a difficult one – it’s just not the right way to go.

Far from “prying apart those relationships”, the current law (explained here) is designed to protect those who don’t feel able to tell their parents/guardians. Nothing prevents young pregnant people from informing and/or involving their parents if they feel able to. Good child-parent relationships cannot be legislated into reality, so vulnerable pregnant teens must be protected from having any decision forced on them.

Colin_CraigNext, Craig goes on to explain why he supports legislation giving “an unborn child the right to life”, even though he accepts that such legislation is unlikely to ever be passed in New Zealand:

BM: In the Value Your Vote, in 2011, I think you got in a bit of trouble because one of the questions we asked was “Does the unborn child have a right to life?”. And…

CC: Yeah, was that the exact wording? I think it was “Would you support legislation? .. I think was –

BM: Giving an unborn child the right to life-

CC: Yeah, yeah.

BM: And you put undecided.

CC: Yeah, I did.

BM: And, in this year’s one, that we’re about to release, you’ve put ‘Yes, you would support it’.

CC: Yeah.

BM: What’s changed?

CC: Well, I think the understanding of the question’s changed, because the first time that that came out I was looking around the world going “Okay, where have they got legislation along these lines?” and Poland, which is a 97% Catholic country, was trying to get legislation through to that effect, and they were having a lot of difficulties around the legalities of it. So I looked at it very much strictly on the wording, and not so much on the principle. Now I’m looking at it in terms of the principle and saying well, I absolutely support an unborn child’s right to life, and I always have – that hasn’t changed, but I think the way I’m looking at the question has changed, in that I’m seeing it not so much as a “Can you practically imagine that we could get legislation in this country to that effect?” It’s more a principled answer to say this is where I do stand.

And finally, he comments on the Greens’ proposal to decriminalise abortion:

CC: Well, look I was already, I mean I’ve been interviewed on TV about that, and I just said “Look, I think that’s a crazy, extreme suggestion.” I think that we already have too many abortions and I think that anyone in their right mind would hopefully have the ideal that we should reduce those. And hopefully get rid of them altogether, although I think that’s a Utopian view. I don’t think we could achieve that, but we certainly can achieve a dramatic reduction. And that’s a life saved every time and I… for me that’s huge and I think that those – and I’m imagining that some people here (gesturing to audience) probably work in that field, and I’ve always thought of it like this: If we could reduce abortions by a thousand a year, in twenty years down the track, you put every one of those kids in a room, you’d have 20,000 people there who would otherwise have died. (scattered applause) And I think when you think like that, it makes it really clear where we should be.

BM: What about in terms of pre-screening? For gender selection, for Down Syndrome? For cleft palate, like in the UK?

CC: Oh, no, no, look I’m not in favour of that because I think all you’re doing is then giving people more reasons to go there. I mean, and I know in some countries they, you know, it’s all male-female and males are more important so let’s ditch the females – I’m not sure there are any countries where they do it the other way around yet. Although if feminism keeps going, you never know, Bob. (laughter from audience) You never know. But no, look, I think it’s just such a dangerous place to go. I think we do want to know if the mother’s health is going to be compromised. That for me is what pre-screening should be about. It should be about “Is this healthy? Are we all going well and we’re on track?” Because there are times when medical intervention is necessary. And I think that’s what medicine should be focussed on, is preserving life, both mother and child.

So to sum up:

• he wants mandatory parental notification laws

• he supports the principle of right to life but doesn’t think it’s practical

• he thinks that letting the pregnant person decide for themselves is crazy and extreme

• he doesn’t support any pre-screening abortion for any reason unless there is a health risk to the pregnant person, because it gives people “more reasons to go there” (ie, ignorance is bliss!)

• he’s a little worried about the feminist agenda

So there you have it. Colin Craig, leader of the Conservative Party, a true conservative, cares so deeply about families that he neglects to consider individuals.

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Many thanks to Kerri for watching, listening and transcribing CC.

Read all the entries in our Vote Choice series.

 

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Vote Choice: David Cunliffe & the Pro-choice Side Step

5 Aug

vote-for-choice-round_1This week the Vote Choice Series is featuring the leader of the Labour Party, David Cunliffe, and his views on abortion law reform. While Mr. Cunliffe has not to date subjected himself to the Bob McCoskrie/Family First show, he did make a brief comment on abortion as part of the Labour leadership race last year. Thanks to Young Labour, spearheaded by the great Jessie Lipscombe, all leadership candidates were asked about law reform. This is what Cunliffe had to say:

“I want to see a woman’s right to choose protected. The current law hasn’t been reviewed for many years and I think that is now urgent. The Law Commission would be best placed to undertake this review as it is a conscience issue which splits across parties”.

The statement starts off on a positive note, with Cunliffe touting his pro-choice credentials. However he then makes a deft political move of side stepping the issue and placing it into the hands of the Law Commission. Regardless of the possible merits of the Law Commission route, in this instance it seems to be a both a conciliatory act and imagean easy out on the part of the would-be leader. Specifically, a review by the Law Commission will not shift the ability of MPs to vote their conscience (i.e its recommendations are unlikely to change the views of the dyed in the wool antis), but it does have potential to provide legitimacy to what is presumed to be a review that would change the law for the better. (Remember how well that went in the 70s with the Royal Commission, which we can safely blame for the confusing and useless law we currently have.)

It kind of sounds like we’re not even satisfied with what is overall a pretty positive statement from a potential Prime Minister. However even Brendan Malone (Pro-Life NZ) in his blog the Leading Edge thought this statement reflected Cunliffe’s desire to appear moderate (we don’t often agree so that is a momentous statement!). And it is this attempt at moderation that irks; no woman’s sexual and reproductive health should be subject to political game playing. Cunliffe is certainly not alone or the worst at side stepping the issue by deferring it to other institutions. As we know a similar approach worked in Victoria, Australia in 2008 and the outcome there was a law that allows abortion up to 24 weeks. [Yes, that is right, 24 weeks - the sky has yet to cave in and pregnant people have not starting thinking, “hey I can abort up to 24 weeks so what’s the rush?!” Surprise, pregnant people are not the callous, inhumane individuals the antis would like to make them out to be.]

A look at Cunliffe’s previous voting record does further contextualize what we acknowledge was a one off statement at the time he was seeking to make himself palatable to the Labour Party members. Unlike Key, Cunliffe did not support any of the amendments in favour of parental notification in 2004. He has also consistently voted for candidates for the Abortion Supervisory Committee that are relatively liberal in their views, and against those who are supported by the antis.

In Summary…
Overall we’d be pretty positive about David Cunliffe’s position on abortion law reform and give him the pro-choice tick from ALRANZ. However we would like to see greater leadership from him on the issue. If he truly wants to see a woman’s right to choose protected then more than a pro-choice side step is needed; change will come when politicians do not feel compelled to cower behind judicial organizations to be effective.

Vote Choice: Winston Peters – the Conservative

29 Jul

vote-for-choice-round_1

Vote Choice: Winston Peters – the (well, a) Conservative

This week’s featured politician is Winston Peters. According to Peters life begins at conception because…the royal baby (?!). We know this because, again, Bob McCoskrie from Family First did the hard work for us in an interview with Peters during which he asked him about his and NZ First’s views on abortion (at 20:35 in the video). The transcript from this section of the interview is below.

The interview, as well as his voting record, highlights Peters’ is conservatism about abortion. He supports “safe, legal and rare” abortions but he opposes the decriminalisation of abortion and actively supports parental notification for young people seeking terminations. In 2004 Peters voted conservatively in three movements to amend Clause 37 of the Care of Children Bill which would make parental notification of a termination compulsory for people under 16.

In 1990 Peters did vote in favour of the repeal of Section 3 Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act relating to contraceptive advice to those under 16. Since then, he has consistently voted conservatively on abortion. You can see his voting record in our PDF of the list of MPs’ voting records on abortion.

In his own words: Winston Peters on abortion

Now, for your information and entertainment, here is the transcript of Peters and McCroskie’s discussion on abortion. Particularly savour the moment where Peters reckons New Zealanders’ reaction to the royal baby is proof life begins at conception.

Bob McCoskrie (BM): We’re up to parental notification. Do you support basically parents being told if their teenager is pregnant and is considering an abortion – do you think parents have the right to know unless there are exceptional circumstances which can be argued through the court?

Winston Peters (WP): If that girl is in the parents’ care, that is legally the parents’ care, the answer’s yes.

BM: Simple as that?

WP: Simple as that.

BM: Is there a private member’s bill coming out of New Zealand First to fix that? ‘Cause it’s dragged on for a lot, I mean there’s-

WP: Well, uh, we’ve got 8 members- 7 member’s bills up now. That is, we’ve got a lot of bills waiting, trying to get them in the ballot paper. Uh, so, if you ask me the question “Have we got such a bill ready?” No. But that’s the first time anybody’s asked us. Amongst other things.

BM: I’ll keep asking [laughter]

WP: Well hang on, we’ve got some serious bills on big issues, about the unfairness of society, the unfairness of the economic policy. Issues to do with who owns this country and the land and the farms and what have you. So I’m not saying that your issue’s not important, but what we have got, waiting in the ballot box, are very important issues as well. That’s all I’m saying.

BM: Let’s talk about abortion. There appears to be a clash in the minds of New Zealanders of whether a woman has a right to an abortion or a unborn child has a right to life. Which side do you come down on?

WP: Our position has never changed, nor has mine since I’ve been a politician. If we are to have abortions they should be [counts on fingers] safe, they should be legal, and they should be rare. That’s where this party stands.

BM: So do you support the Greens’ policy of decriminalising abortion?

WP: No we don’t.

BM: But you’ve just argued that they should be legal. So-

WP: Oh no no. If it happens, our position is they should be safe [counts on fingers], they should be legal and they should be rare.

BM: So legal within the guidelines that are in there.

WP: That’s right. And don’t forget I emphasise the word rare. That’s not what’s happening now as you well know. The Greens’ want to open, uh, no rules at all. The Greens are not just saying we want to make abortions legal, as you well know they are now. They want total removal of all restrictions on this issue.

BM: So you’ll oppose the decriminalisation. What about in terms of, for example, gender selection, Down syndrome, where there’s abnormalities, I mean, the Greens’ policy suggests that right up to 40 weeks, a child with abnormalities-

WP: But we’re ah- let me tell you about this year. The Greens have never been in political power since they began in the name and the shape of the title of the Values Party in 1972. They’ve been around a long time and have never made it and I don’t want to be on the stage, wasting my time talking about a party that’s never made it.

BM: Can we go back to that- [Applause and cheering from the audience]

WP: Well, this interview is about a party that has made it. And it’s gonna make it big time in 2014.

BM: So the Greens- ah, well there’s another party that reckons that a child at 19 weeks is entitled to be aborted but at 20 weeks you shouldn’t abort it. When do you, for your personally, when do you think life begins? When does an unborn child have a right to life, at what point in their life?

WP: Well speaking biologically, life begins from the very start.

BM: Conception?

WP: Yes. [Applause] Well isn’t it curious, it was the royal family and the day we all knew, as members of the Commonwealth, we began, we’d think “There is a baby. It’s gonna be an heir to the throne”. Right? Now look at that concept, as opposed to what people say in other circumstances. So my answer is, from the beginning.

So that’s that. Remember, we encourage members to go along to candidate forums or local meetings and ask candidates where each stands on abortion. You can send through your intel to info@alranz.org so we can begin to profile candidates and their views. Or if you would like to feature a candidate and write up their position for the blog, please send that through to us for posting.

 

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Let’s Change the Way we Talk about Abortion

26 Jul

By Michele A’Court, ALRANZ Member
(originally written for the Christchurch Press, June 2014)

Two weeks ago, the Greens reignited our conversation about abortion, describing our current legislation as “dishonest” and proposing that all terminations be decriminalised.

Ok, “reignited” is a strong word. As a conversation starter, raising the subject of abortion pretty much guarantees most politicians are going to dash away like they’ve just remembered they left the iron on at home.

Anti-abortionists worry a fresh look at our 37-year-old legislation will mean we’ll end up with something more liberal; pro-choice advocates fear new regulations could end up more restrictive. And so we stop talking about it at all.

Here’s the thing: If we really want to change our abortion law, we need to change the way we talk about it amongst ourselves. Ordinary women – the 15,000 of us each year who terminate a pregnancy – need to be more open and honest about our experience of it. I’ll start.

Several years ago, I had an abortion. It took some courage and it made me sad, but it was the right thing to do – for me, and for the child I already had, and the other people I care for.

I felt ashamed at the time for becoming pregnant – I was, I felt, old enough and smart enough to know better. But I am not at all ashamed of terminating the pregnancy. I am endlessly grateful to the medical practitioners who cared for me through the process. Not everyone was kind, but most of them were.

I have imagined what my life would have been like if terminating an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy had not been an option for me, and what I feel more than anything is a tremendous sense of relief that one moment of my own recklessness was not allowed to completely redefine all of our lives.

Several years after my own abortion, I met a woman who works at an Australian clinic which specialises in late-term abortions. Wendy said all kinds of people go there – you will see married couples who simply can’t manage another child; very young girls with their parents; and middle-aged women who have mistaken pregnancy for menopause.

In the state of Victoria, abortion is available up to 24 weeks on request. Women, Wendy said, come from all over Australia and New Zealand – there are few practitioners in either country who will perform terminations after 18 weeks, even though it is legal.

Abortions after 18 weeks are more complicated – a surgical rather than medical procedure – and women arrive at the clinic where Wendy works each Monday and stay – usually with family or friends for support – for the whole week.

I asked Wendy why she chose to work there. She said it was for the remarkable change she saw each week in the women – from arriving on Monday, hunched and sad, and leaving on Friday “looking like they can do anything, like they can take on the world”.

And so I stand firmly with Hillary Clinton on this: abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

For more from Michele, visit http://www.micheleacourt.co.nz/. If you’d like to write a post for us, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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Vote Choice: John Key – the Fence Sitter

22 Jul

vote-for-choice-round_1Welcome to ALRANZ’s Vote Choice series, where we offer you our views on candidate’s opinions on abortion and reproductive justice, so that you can make an informed decision on 20 September. We encourage members to go along to candidate forums or local meetings and ask candidates where each stands on abortion. You can send through your intel to info@alranz.org so that we can begin to profile candidates and their views. Or if you would like to feature a candidate and write up their position for the blog, please send that through to us for posting.

John Key – the fence sitter

This week’s featured politician is John Key. Thanks to his recent interview with Bob McCoskrie from Family First, we now have a better sense of his position on abortion: fence sitter – not coming down clearly John_Keyfor or against.  Key said he wasn’t in favour of law reform; he is in favour of parental notification; but he didn’t seem to be against abortion per se.

The interview with Key highlighted two things: one, the Prime Minister doesn’t have a clear grip on the current laws; and two, assuming these were genuine responses, he expressed some mixed feelings on abortion.  On the former, Mr. Key is not alone in being confused by the law. You only have to read the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (CS&A) Act to become terribly confused about just how a pregnant person goes about getting a legal abortion. However, while non-elected officials can be excused from reading dry pieces of legislation, politicians shouldn’t be forgiven their ignorance, particularly in the context of a recorded interview where you likely already know the questions and you still don’t bother to do your homework!

Voting Record

The minimal amount of information we have on Key’s record on abortion comes from previous votes on legislation and the appointment of Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) members, and reflects the fence sitter position. The 2004 debate on the Care of Children Bill on parental advisement is the only piece of legislation we have to go on (all the other votes were in relation to the appointment of ASC members where he voted liberally twice (both in 2007), conservative once (2007) and abstained/absent in 2011).  He voted in favour of Judith Collin’s amendment, which would have made parental notification for an under-16 year old’s abortion mandatory.

In the McCoskrie interview, Key simultaneously reinscribes abortion stigma by using some quintessential anti-language, saying he wouldn’t want to liberalise our current abortion laws because “people would see it [abortion] as a legitimate contraception device,” while also accepting that most abortion decision are made because it is “an unwanted pregnancy and they feel that they can’t cope or don’t want to at that point in their life raise a child”.  Obviously the claim that abortion is a type of contraception is spurious, or as one ALRANZ member said, “that is literally impossible, to use abortion as contraception”: one prevents fertilisation and pregnancy in the first instance, while the other is used to end a pregnancy. Claims like this are often used to argue against abortion and implicitly mean something like, “Hey women, clearly you were irresponsible by getting pregnant in the first place so now you can’t or shouldn’t be trusted to make a decision about terminating a pregnancy”.  Yeah, no.

After stating clearly that he is opposed to liberalising the law because it would cause some spate of abortions as a form of contraception, Key then acknowledged that raising children is a pretty difficult thing to do, particularly if you are a solo mum. Reading between the lines, he seems to be arguing for abortion under socio-economic grounds! And while he doesn’t want to move the debate forward, he also doesn’t want to go backward: “And I suppose my only point would be if abortion laws went the other way you would without doubt have more young people having children and the question is would they be in the best situation to cope with that if by definition they’re saying at the moment they can’t”. And we all know the answer to this is no – women would not be in a better situation if they were forced to carry a pregnancy to term and raise a child they felt they were not able or capable of providing for.

Unfortunately that part of the interview ends on a sour note, with Key firmly supporting parental notification…

All in all, a mixed bag from our Prime Minister in terms of abortion law reform and trusting women.


Can You Help?

We need a couple of sturdy volunteers with strong stomachs to listen through Bob’s interviews with (links are to YouTube videos) Winston Peters of New Zealand First and Colin Craig of the Conservatives to listen out and transcribe for use in our series any comments they make about reproductive rights and justice issues. Email us if you can help: info@alranz.org


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Election Badges & Stickers!

17 Jul

We’ve added to our badge and sticker collection with two election-focused designs, created by the wonderful Zenaida and made by Verboom in Christchurch.

voteForChoice_Page_3voteForChoice_Page_2Check our entire inventory out in the image below, with $1 and $2 coins for size comparisons. If you’re into specifics, the badges are 32mm, the stickers are 42mm.

The badges cost $1 each to make and the stickers 26 cents. We’d welcome koha and postage if you can afford it, but it’s fine if you can’t! There’s an order form at the bottom of this post.

Various ways to donate are here, including our bank account details, address for cheques and links to our Givealittle page in case you’d like to make a donation by credit card.

 

Badges_July_2014_Web

 

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John Key on Abortion

16 Jul

voteForChoice_Page_3Bob McCoskrie of Family First NZ interviewed the Prime Minister John Key earlier this month at the 8th annual NZ Forum on the Family. They discussed a range of issues including marriage equality, “smacking”, “euthanasia”, prostitution, decriminalising marijuana and, yes, abortion. The whole video is on YouTube (and the abortion discussion starts around  29 minutes). We thought you might be interested in our transcript of that part of the discussion. 

Bottom line: John Key says he opposed liberalising abortion law because it would encourage people to treat abortion as contraception. Sigh! (See highlighted passages). 

Bob McCoskrie: The Greens say that an unborn child at 19 weeks can be aborted but an unborn child at 20 weeks cannot be, because they’ve said there’s a 20-week cut-off. There’s this argument about where does the right for a woman to have an abortion against the right of an unborn child to life. Where do you put that point at?

John Key: If you look at the current law and accept that there will be lots of interpretations within that law so there are as you probably know because you know more about it than I probably ever will, but if you look at that law, there’s lots of situations where an abortion is legally acceptable.

BM: But effectively it is abortion on demand we have in New Zealand isn’t it – 99 percent of abortions are approved.

Bob McCoskrie of Family First NZ and Prime Minister John Key at the NZ Forum on the Forum earlier this month.

Bob McCoskrie of Family First NZ and Prime Minister John Key at the NZ Forum on the Forum earlier this month.

JK: My guess is that’s probably right, a) because of the stats that you quote and b) while in theory there are examples that say ‘well it’s under this – it’s under 20 weeks gestation period but then it sort of goes into if there was a parent, sibling, orwhatever it is – there’s various legal things – but in the end I think it’s about the impairment on the mother and the child so in reality yes. So the reason I’m opposed to changing the law is that again, I think the law broadly works; I accept that it’s likely that the bulk of people that are terminating pregnancy are probably doing so on the basis that they – it’s an unwanted pregnancy and they feel that they can’t cope or don’t want to at that point in their life raise a child. So I think the issue there is that if you went to further liberalisation my concern I think would be that people would see that as a legitimate contraception device in a way that all of a sudden they would be more encouraged to go down that path and be less careful, so I’d be opposed to that.

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