WelCom November 2019
According to the NZ Parliament website, the proposed Abortion Legislation Bill ‘seeks to have abortion services provided like other health services. It would do this by decriminalising abortion, modernising legislation related to abortion, and better aligning the regulation of abortion services with that of other health services. The bill would remove the current legal requirements for authorising an abortion. The bill would allow a person to refer themselves to an abortion service provider. A health practitioner would only need to give their authorisation if the person was more than 20 weeks pregnant.’
Submissions on the bill closed Thursday, 19 September 2019. Parliament is currently considering the submissions.
The Archdiocese of Wellington submission strongly opposes the bill as it only recognises the life of the mother and not the life of the child.
‘There are always at least two lives involved in a pregnancy. Abortion always ends a life,’ the Archdiocesan submission opens.
The submission recognises that because of confidentiality, church support for sole parents, pregnant mothers, and families living in hardship may happen under the radar, leaving a perception that churches primarily fight for the child, rather than having compassion towards mothers.
‘We see mother in need of loving and compassionate support. We see a child who is also a person with a right to live in dignity.’
The submission outlines practical support for families in the Archdiocese of Wellington, which includes: drop-in support; pregnancy tests, maternity and baby clothing, nappies and baby equipment; benefit and housing advocacy; counselling and social work support; post-abortion counselling for women and families experiencing grief and trauma after an abortion; marriage preparation and relationship support; and advocacy for more just social and economic policies.
The Archdiocesan submission says many women and families lack so many of the necessities that they need to raise their children that they do not experience real ‘choice’.
‘When the decision to terminate a pregnancy is taken from a place of “no other choice”, abortion can leave deep emotional and psychological wounds. This bill does not adequately recognise or offer mitigation for these negative impacts to a woman’s wellbeing.’
The Abortion Legislation Bill is currently being considered by a special Abortion Legislation Select Committee set up to examine submissions. It is expected to report back in early 2020.
The Archdiocesan submission is on the NZ Parliament website at www.parliament.nz/resource/en-NZ/52SCAL_EVI_89814_AL15015/92f5c2b49ed355a1ece9468868701cc04c60d021