Why are the Greens withholding information about their proposed law to decriminalise abortion?

The following article is written by Ken Orr of Right to Life New Zealand.  He raises some very important questions about the Greens abortion policy.

Right to Life is disappointed that the Green Party is refusing to provide a response to the seven very important questions that have been addressed to  Jan Logie, spokesperson for the Green Party on Women’s and rainbow issues. On the Green’s web site, Jan Logie, describes herself as a” lefty feminist lesbian”. Supporting this destructive policy is not an authentic feminist position. She says this about herself. ” I am passionate about reducing inequality, eliminating violence and promoting participation in society, locally and globally.” She states that she:

believes in public engagement and greater transparency which are central to trust in both the system and politicians.

To promote participation in society locally it is necessary to be provided with information. Why then is she refusing to provide the requested information which the electorate are entitled to have, to assist them to make an informed decision about the controversial policy of decriminalization of abortion…Women in particular have a need for this information as the decriminalization of abortion would  have a catastrophic and degrading affect on the status of women as mothers and child bearers.

1  Why are the Greens seeking to establish 20 weeks as a cut off point. What happens at 20 weeks in the development of the child that requires this limit?

2  Are you planning a restrictive bubble around abortion clinics where no one may enter to pray, protest or to offer women seeking an abortion assistance?

3  What action will the law require when doctors refuse to refer a woman seeking an abortion to another doctor who will perform the abortion?

4  You require neutral counsellors what constitutes neutrality?

5  Would you permit abortions after 20 weeks for Down syndrome and Spina Bifida?

6  Would you permit sex selection abortions up to 20 weeks and beyond?

7  Is there any requirement for informed consent with women being give information about the alternatives to abortion such as adoption or parenting. The potential complications that might follow an abortion and information about the development of the child?

Those who govern do so with the consent of the governed. Those who are elected to Parliament should have a firm commitment to pursue the common good and to seek a just society. The foundation of the common good is recognition of the right to life of every member of the community from conception to natural death. There is no place in our Parliament for any person who is not committed to upholding the common good.

A functioning democracy requires a properly informed electorate to enable it to elect wise and prudent men and women to govern them. Right to Life requests that in order to promote an informed electorate that Ms Jan Logie provides answers to the seven important questions presented to her.

Voting with the most vulnerable in mind

Vote for LifeWith only a few days to go until New Zealand’s General Election most people have likely made their minds up about who to vote for.

Our children attend a Catholic primary school and it has been interesting to hear the comments they have been making over the last few weeks as the election process has been studied.  Yesterday, two came home with the results of a class election.  Given the children are highly influenced by what is being discussed at home, I suspect the class election results are a close indication of how the parents will be voting this coming Saturday!  Unsurprisingly, for this electorate, Labour won with flying colours.

I wonder if these families understand the implications for preborn New Zealanders if they vote Labour this year?  Do they know that a Labour member (Maryan Street) intends to reintroduce a private member’s bill that will legalise the killing of adults who are terminally ill or find their suffering (whatever that may be) “unbearable”?

And it is not just Labour that we should be wary of.  The Green’s wish to remove abortion from the Crimes Act, making abortion easily accessed while removing the rights of pro-life doctors and nurses to follow their own conscience and not subject their second patient (the preborn child) to death.  Crisis Pregnancy Centres are also a target of the Green’s policy.  Labour and the Greens are joined by Internet Mana and other parties and candidates that do not uphold the dignity of the human person from conception to natural death.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life is handy document to refer to.   It can be perused not only by Catholics, but by all people of good will who wish to ensure the common good of all people is upheld.

In it, we are reminded that:

“In the face of fundamental and inalienable ethical demands, Christians must recognize that what is at stake is the essence of the moral law, which concerns the integral good of the human person.  This is the case with laws concerning abortion and euthanasia (not to be confused with the decision to forgo extraordinary treatments, which is morally legitimate).  Such laws must defend the basic right to life from conception to natural death.  In the same way, it is necessary to recall the duty to respect and protect the rights of the human embryo.  Analogously, the family needs to be safeguarded and promoted, based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman, and protected in its unity and stability in the face of modern laws on divorce:  in no way can other forms of cohabitation be placed on the same level as marriage, nor can they receive legal recognition as such.” (#4)

The people whom we elect on Saturday have the power to further strip the most vulnerable in our society – the preborn and those near the end of life – of their intrinsic dignity.  If we vote well, there will be people in parliament to speak up for the most defenseless.

Not so long ago New Zealand’s Catholic Bishop’s released a statement to all the Catholic faithful.  In it they noted that “protecting the most vulnerable members of society is the responsibility of every one of us.”

Our shepherds also noted that “we are challenged as voters to place first in heart and conscience those whose lives are potentially affected by decisions we make as voters.”

Among the people they listed as needing our attention, the Bishop’s mentioned the preborn children and those nearing the end of life.

As we walk into the polling booths on Saturday, everyone must be aware of the grave situation that lies ahead of us if particular political parties obtain the balance of power.

The lives of even more preborn children are at stake; families are at risk of being further breakdown; and those who suffer from terminal illness (or any condition that one finds burdensome) will be at risk of euthanasia.

So when it comes to the political parties and candidates do you know their policies and what they stand for?  Do you know for sure that they will keep their word and not change tack after being swayed by organisations that promote abortion, contraception, euthanasia and the breakdown of the traditional family?

We need strong people in parliament who will speak up for all people who reside in this beautiful country – God’s own.  We must ensure that the parties we vote for have sound policies that uphold the dignity of all people at every stage of life – from the very moment of conception right through to natural death.

Acknowledging the sacredness and right to life of individuals is the foundation for which we can build a strong society.  We ignore the most vulnerable among us at our own peril.

 

Check out Family First’s website Value Your Vote for more information on the parties and candidates.

The Numbers game

couplelovebabyOne question that frequently comes up in parenting circles is ‘how many children is the right number?’ I’ve always thought it is an odd that in a pluralistic world, people would think there would be a one size fits all family.

There is a lot of advice on the subject, and for those of us with more than three children, a lot of unwanted comments too. I should have seen it coming when our third child was born, and one of the first comments was, ‘Wow, you have a large family now’. We didn’t stop at three, and the comments didn’t stop either. After our fifth, I started getting less comments, with most people sighing and shaking their heads. I think they had given up on me as a lost cause. My wife’s experience was significantly different. The comments and odd looks haven’t stopped.

These comments on family size are one of the few personal criticisms that is still socially acceptable. If you comment negatively about someone’s sexual orientation, you will be shunned from polite society. Similarly for commenting on someone moving in with a boyfriend or girlfriend before marriage. And yet making humiliating and hurting comments about the number of children good parents have is fair game. ‘She’s too young’, ‘She’s too old’, or ‘Are you addicted to babies?’ Most mums of large families could easily fill a book with the comments that they have received.

And governments get in on the act too.  Some countries have decided the ideal family size, and either encourage through public policy, or legislate their ideal number. Generally this number is one or two. A number is set under the influence of the population control lobby. There is a terrible toll on human life due to forced or coerced abortion.

But here in New Zealand, the decision is the parent’s, but there is certainly social pressure. Back when I was at school, there was great concern about overpopulation. When I grew up I was going to be stepping over bodies wherever I went, and it was certain that there was going to be widespread starvation. We now recognise that famine is caused by distribution problems, generally due to wars. And as for stepping over people to get anywhere, our biggest population problems include widespread loneliness, and the coming demographic winter.

So the academic reasons for limiting family size never really existed. What is left is social and economic.

Housing a family is expensive, and there is a growing expectation that all children should have their own room. The expectations for what a child should own are getting unrealistic. Some schools dictate each child should own a tablet or laptop computer. Every teenager expects to have a cell phone, and usually a smartphone. Even state schools have suggested donations and all manner of activity fees.

So the faithful Catholic couple has to live in a world that is hostile to the idea of being generous with the size of their family. Here the Church makes the most modest demands, and these are for the benefit of the couple and their family.

The Church asks for generosity, and what newly married person does not want to be generous with their love for their spouse? The church asks that their loving gift of self to each other is complete, and does not selfishly hold back fertility. What newly married couple plans selfish motives in their love? Here the Church goes even further to help the couple. She encourages natural fertility regulation as a means, for serious reasons, to avoid pregnancy for a time. So the Church proposes means to avoid pregnancy without entering into a contradictory act. That is where they appear to giving themselves fully, but at the same time they limit their gift of self by withholding the very part of that gift that takes love beyond the couple. That being their fertility. And it’s children that take the loving gift of self between loving spouses, and multiply that gift beyond the couple.

And finally the Church trusts the married couple to make decisions about when they are ready for each child. The guidance she gives in no way determines a one size fits all number of children a family should have. They are free to decide, based on their circumstances, whether to, as one Catholic women described to me, “Just plan our family naturally”. Or alternatively wait until circumstances have improved.

In no way does the Church impose on the married couple, rather she gently proposes her teachings for the good of the spouses. If they both choose to follow the advice, marriage is elevated to a state of living a poetry of love. This is in profound contrast to the selfish and utilitarian motives of the world around us.

“My Decision” but only if you’re pro-choice

Dr Bernard Nathanson
Dr Bernard Nathanson, one of the founders of NARAL and ex-abortionist holds my first-born at a pro-life conference in Auckland, New Zealand.

On Sunday, ALRANZ launched a new website “My Decision” which aims to intimidate and bully pro-life doctors through naming them and publishing women’s stories about their experiences with “hostile or unhelpful health professionals”.

Through the website ALRANZ wants to take options away from women by publishing the names of these individuals and organisations.  By doing this, it is being inferred that they are archaic, putting their own beliefs over and above good medicine, good science.  But these pro-life health professionals and crisis pregnancy centres are being honest, not only about their beliefs, but the science and medical evidence which shows that human life begins at the moment of fertilization and that some so-called contraceptives are abortifacient.

The irony of the site has not gone unnoticed.  Somehow, in the mixed up world of  “choice” every woman is free to make their own decision regarding “her body” as long as she embraces pro-choice rhetoric.

If she suffers after her abortion – it couldn’t be possible.

If she realises the reality of her decision to abort her child and then speaks out – she must be silenced.

If she approaches a pro-life doctor or a crisis pregnancy centre for help and support – she’s been sucked in to a world of lies and deceit and has been coerced into bringing her preborn child to birth.

If she chooses Natural Fertility methods over artificial birth control and abortifacients – she is seriously backward, and brainwashed by those religious zealots.

ALRANZ says that women must be able to access “reproductive health services” as a right.  They say this because it is critical to the religion of CHOICE.

But what about those of us who are pro-life and want to make our own decisions?

For us real choice does not exist.

It’s pretty hard for the average person to find out which medical professionals are directly involved in abortion in New Zealand.  In 2012, Southlanders for Life attempted to find out which practitioners were working at the newly opened Southland Hospital abortion facility.  ALRANZ were quick to say that this was a “dangerous bullying tactic”.

I think we could use the same words to describe the “My Decision” site.

And how’s this for pro-choice bullying?

I have given birth to seven children.  Each of their births were very difficult and six of my pregnancies were deemed high risk, complicated by gestational diabetes, occasional cholestasis of pregnancy and repeat cesarean sections.

Immediately after the birth of our third child the surgeon told me never to have another child.

Each of my last four pregnancies were difficult times – partly because of my health, but mainly from the outside stress from repeatedly being told by midwives and obstetricians that I MUST have a tubal ligation.

When I say repeatedly, I mean over and over again for each of the four pregnancies.  I have heard stories of women being asked once and then that is it.  That never happened to me.

One of my worse experiences was less than 24 hours after the birth of our fifth child.  I was desperately sick.  I had cried the whole way through that first night, trying to care for my newborn daughter while constantly vomiting and being restricted in my movement because of the cesarean section.

That morning,  the lead midwife (not my LMC), who I saw from time to time, came into my hospital room with the lecture that most people would be afraid to hear while well and happy.  In that lecture she told me that next time I would DIE.  My husband was completely irresponsible – and where was he anyway?  (Um looking after four kids at home while he too was unwell)…  Forget my religion – I could get a dispensation from my Bishop… I just HAD to have a tubal ligation… didn’t I get it?  She was RIGHT and I was WRONG.

Tell me where was MY DECISION in that conversation?  This midwife wanted to strip me of MY CHOICE  because I didn’t fit her pro-choice mold of contracepting and limiting my family size to two or three children.

Had I been a weaker person – and believe me it wouldn’t have taken too much more – I would have agreed with her.  I would have signed that bit of paper and been done with it.

That was not the only time I was spoken to like that in regards to having a tubal ligation, although it was the worst experience.  There were many other times – approximately 15 in all.  Most times my request to refuse the tubal ligation was NOT written in my notes, meaning I was asked over and over again.

I was terrified that one day someone would take matters into their own hands and sterilise me anyway.  Lucky for me, tubal ligation can only be performed with a patient’s permission.

I suspect that at times I was cared for by doctors, midwives and others who were involved in abortion and sterilisation.  It goes without saying that all of them prescribed birth control.  How I wish I could have made the CHOICE not to be treated by those who disregard human life on one hand while rejoicing in it on the other.

It’s a great thing that health professionals that promote and protect life in all it’s stages can stay true to their convictions, and do so with the protection of the law.  They should be able to do it without being bullied by those who want to change the rules to suit themselves.

So as ALRANZ harp on about a woman’s right to make her own decision, maybe they would like to consider that sometimes that decision will be for LIFE.  And that is not a bad thing.

Yes, there are women out there that don’t buy the pro-choice rhetoric and will stand up to the intimidation and bullying tactics.  I am proudly one of them.

 

 

 

Truth and Reconciliation

The issue is simple. Either ALL lives have value or none do. south_africa_father_childEither ALL lives have a dignity or none possess this innate quality.
Rights or values that are arbitrarily applied can just as easily be retracted. Last century undoubtedly witnessed the greatest denial of human dignity within world history. Communism, Nazism and, to a lesser extent, Apartheid, emerge as monsters in this praxis. But there is one loudly-silent denier of human dignity. One that outpaces the others by its sheer number of victims; that is abortion.

Standing and praying outside an abortion clinic can expose you to the heart of the beast. And that is the attack on truth or at best an ignorance or distortion of it. Very few discuss; some shout; others give you the fingers and move on. Their version of what constitutes truth even though it may not hold up to scrutiny is all that matters. Recently, an overt ‘middle-class’ lady shouted “and who is going to take care of all these (thousands of) children?” Who indeed?

Is it because we know what happens during an abortion and that this truth is uncomfortable?

Well, how can the taking of innocent life ever be seen as comforting or normal? Sadly, abortion has been so ‘normalised’ within society that it sometimes sounds like “I’m just going for a cup of coffee” or “I’ve had my hair done this morning”. Instead we have invented phrases and twisted words to assuage our consciences that if everybody else does it, then surely it must be okay.

But New Zealand history shows that Kiwis do stand up for the ‘under-dog’, the person who is ill-treated, oppressed, killed or simply denied their innate dignity. I recall watching in the early 80’s, as thousands of ordinary Kiwis stood up for the 2nd and 3rd class citizens of South Africa. Many of us were amazed that so many ‘distant’ people could be the voice of the voiceless. They could and did speak up for the oppressed; for those brutalised by an unjust system. A system based purely on a single attribute of their humanity; the colour of a person’s skin. This raises a question; is it easier to support a cause that is in a far-off land; far away from you? Thus the closer to home, the less comfortable people may feel?

But apartheid was not only about racial discrimination. There was a much less-discussed economic aspect to it. By keeping people down, by denying their dignity, it was easier to exploit them. A select few were making money through exploiting others. Some ‘fat cats’ were making huge sums of money through cheap labour. Of course, there was no concern over the home situation of the exploited masses. None of the ‘top dogs’ walked in their shoes; none of them knew or cared about the situation of their underlings. Profit was the concern, not people.

Is it a co-incidence that we have today the aptly named abortion industry?

Fast forward 30 years and so few speak up for the voiceless; the unborn child, the woman being pressurised to “get rid of IT”.  One invariably finds that some who were anti-apartheid, anti-discrimination back then, are keen promoters of abortion. The dignity of ‘non-white’ peoples was recognised and defended back then, but for the unborn child, a strange double-standard is still at play. Discrimination based on a single attribute – that these children are unborn. Lest we forget that science clearly shows that an unborn child in the foetal stages of growth is a separate human being. Much the same like the non-white in South Africa.

A key difference was that the South African system enforced the “Group Areas Act” which did not allow certain types to occupy the same space whereas with an unborn child, nature dictates otherwise.

The same rhetoric fashionable today was applied back then. “My body my choice” could easily read “my slave my choice” or if you want, “my worker my choice”. All that is needed is simply a few words on a piece of paper, and the deed is done. It is legal. It is the law.

But does anybody give a thought for the victims; those affected by these acts of exploitation. Like under apartheid, there were many. Some were just doing their jobs; they felt it was good for the non-beings; those who were different to them. Likewise in the abortion industry. Many are just doing their jobs; many think they are helping women. A select few are reaping the financial rewards off the tears of others. Unfortunately, just as under apartheid, many of the people at the ‘top’ are victims as well. As they refuse to or do not see the humanity, the dignity of others, so too do they lose their own dignity.

It is just that situation that has led many to apologise for what happened in South Africa. Somehow they felt that they should. So too do we find in the abortion industry. Some people are recognising the error of their ways and walking away. It appears that there comes a time in their life when reality kicks in. And the workers walk away.

But just like under the apartheid system, healing can occur; help is at hand for those who recognise clearly what abortion does and the ramifications upon the individual – mothers, fathers and abortion workers. A “truth and reconciliation” process as happened after the end of apartheid also occurs post-abortion. Individuals seeking healing have already confronted the truth; reconciliation can begin. The major difference is that with abortion, this process is private; there are no recriminations, no finger pointing. Only closure, healing, love – a restoration of dignity.

The real cost of IVF in New Zealand: human life

Embryo,_8_cells (320x240)Fertility Associates, New Zealand’s largest fertility clinic, is currently celebrating the birth of baby 15,000 through their reproductive technology services.  At the same time, they have unveiled a new technique to help in the selection of ‘healthy’ embryos to implant.

But what is the true cost of IVF in New Zealand?

The new service offered to parents at Fertility Associates is “Time Lapse Morphometry Imaging” where the cell divisions of the developing embryo are captured by photographs every five minutes.  The still shots are then used to compile a video which allows technicians to view developmental changes without disturbing the embryos.  For those undergoing IVF, this means they can opt in for the service which helps to “identify the embryos with the best prognosis to then be transferred (or cryopreserved)”.  The imaging is available for an additional cost – around $1,000.00.  The technology, it is hoped, will increase the success of IVF treatment from 40% to 50% in women under the age of 37.

Fertility Associates was established  in 1987 by the founding doctors of IVF in New Zealand, Dr Freddie Graham and Dr Richard Fisher.  They provide both privately and publicly funded ‘treatments’ (anything from ovulation induction and artificial insemination to IVF and surrogacy).

Two other fertility clinics that provide IVF in New Zealand also boast births in the thousands.  Fertility Plus, the first fertility clinic in New Zealand, which is run through National Women’s Health at Greenlane Hospital, has had up to 10,000 babies born through IVF; and Repromed, a private clinic based in Auckland, operating since 2007, has had more than 1000 births.

While the birth of a baby is always worth rejoicing over, we do have concerns over how these babies have been conceived – the removal of the union of spouses means that these babies were conceived in a science lab, they were selected for implantation when just a few days old – the best of usually a number of embryos.  Their siblings, deemed “not good enough” were discarded as nothing more than medical waste.  The remaining ‘lucky’ embryos had their lives suspended through cryopreservation for possible use later on.

If 26,000 babies have been successfully brought to birth through IVF in New Zealand since 1984, then how many thousands more nascent human lives have been discarded?  How many are currently frozen – their lives suspended?

Fertility Associates have revealed that 10,600 embryos are currently being stored at their clinics in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.  As they are not the only fertility clinics in the country that store embryos in liquid nitrogen, we can assume that there are thousands more.

On November 22nd the embryo storage restrictions set forth in the  HART Act 2004 (Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act) will come into effect.  According to Fertility Associates 1950 embryos would be reaching the 10 year limit in their clinics alone.  350 couples or women are the parents of these frozen embryos.  Some will have obtained permission to extend storage through the Ethics Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ECART).  Unfortunately, ECART were unable to supply me with the number of extensions given, despite being the Committee which grants permission.

The human embryos that have been stored for 10 years at that time, which do not have storage extension permission, will need to be destroyed within six months.

Already stripped of their dignity through the means in which they were conceived and then stored, these embryos – human life – will make the ultimate sacrifice for those who face infertility, or because of personal circumstance wish to circumvent the natural order and become parents anyway (ie. same-sex couples or the single woman).

So what is the real cost of IVF in New Zealand?  It is not monetary, despite a massive investment by those walking that path.  No, the real cost is the loss of nascent human life – human life stripped of dignity from the very first moment of their existence.

 

 

Ebola, an unnecessary epidemic

Africa

A few years back I attended a seminar by a colleague who had worked as a volunteer dentist in a hospital in Uganda. Conditions in the hospital weren’t great. She frequently worked out in the open air to get enough light to do basic dental procedures. Any 30+ year old school dental clinic in New Zealand has a light the dentist can position so they can see what they are doing. This hospital obviously didn’t have one.

She was told to bring all the surgical gloves she would need for her stay. The hospital didn’t have them. I’m guessing that many medical personnel in New Zealand would have no idea how many gloves they would go through in 6 months as they are there just to use. In Uganda they are really needed. There were many HIV positive people using the hospital at the time. She told the heart-breaking story of counselling a women with AIDS about the risks of having a tooth extracted. She was in pain and wanted the tooth out despite the risks. Days later she was dead. An infection from the extraction had killed her. These stories were common in her talk.

Hospitals all around Africa lack much of the basic equipment we take for granted. And for health care workers personal protective equipment is vital. Gloves, aprons, face shields etc. These are the basics that health care workers routinely use in New Zealand, and most developed countries. There is a culture of using them, and they are readily available.  Because of this, we can handle flu epidemics, SARS and plenty of other outbreaks of infectious diseases.

By comparison to these, Ebola isn’t that hard to quarantine. People are only infectious when they have the symptoms of the disease, and it’s only spread through direct contact with bodily secretions. An Ebola outbreak in New Zealand would be easier to contain than flu or SARS. And the basic equipment to protect health care workers are already present in our hospitals. While there are risks to healthcare workers, they would be less than with other infections they have dealt with.

The situation in Africa is very different. Some hospitals even lack running water. Personal protective equipment as basic as disposable gloves are luxuries in many areas. Their scarcity makes it almost impossible to have a culture of good barrier nursing.

There are many factors behind the current Ebola outbreak in Africa. The most important is the presence of a natural reservoir for the disease. There are cultural practices with burying the dead. There is a mistrust of the government in some places. And many of the healthcare workers in the areas currently affected have never dealt with Ebola before. But healthcare workers shouldn’t be getting sick. Sixty have already died, including one of Sierra Leone’s most respected doctors.

Governments are now responding and basic health equipment is starting to get to the areas that need it. Charities have been on the ground the whole time caring for the sick and dying, in conditions that put themselves at great risk.

We have to look hard at the role the developed world has played in it. A lot of ‘medical’ equipment has been supplied to Africa in the past. Even barrier equipment. But nothing that would help with the current epidemic. We have been supplying them with condoms for years, and telling them that they need to use them. It’s not the barrier for this epidemic. There isn’t a lot of hard evidence that they have ever stopped any epidemic. And we have supplied a lot of other contraceptives too. Apparently these are more important than running water. Are condoms more important than having enough needles so they can use one per patient, instead of reusing them, which still happens in some parts of Africa?

For too long we have been happy for modern contraception to be available everywhere, but do nothing for basic healthcare in Africa.

We have had the chance to do something about the problem. There have been many conferences on population and development. They tend to spend a lot more time talking about reproductive health than about development. There has been a push to make abortion a human right, following the old slogan “Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare”.  How do you make any medical procedure ‘safe’ in a hospital with a dirt floor, and no running water?

African slaves contributed much to the wealth of both the British Empire, and the United States. Before the West was taking African’s as slaves, the East was doing it. Africa hasn’t had a fair break in centuries. Now the developed world is obsessed with getting contraceptives and abortions in Africa. You would think that we desperately wanted there to be less Africans in the world.

Now thanks to Ebola, that morbid desire is coming true.

We owe Africa real help with their medicine and their development, not this imposition of a culture of death.