Praying for an end to abortion in NZ

40 Days for Life WellingtonAll around the world people are attending 40 Days for Life prayer vigils outside their local abortion facilities.  They know that their presence is vital to help save lives and to bring about the end of abortion through a deep trust in God.

Today is day 9 of the vigil, which lasts for 40 days in succession.  This is the second time New Zealand has officially participated in the world-wide prayer effort.  The vigils are taking place outside Wellington Hospital and the Auckland Medical Aid Centre (AMAC).

These of course, are not the first time vigils have been held outside abortion facilities here in New Zealand.  There is a long history, of over 40 years, of the faithful standing and praying outside of these facilities right throughout the country.

The variety of efforts by pro-life people is astounding.  There are those that are working on laws, and in the political sphere.  Still again, there are a great number who promote life through their work in the medical profession and scientific avenues.  Others still, work to educate, or use the media or the internet.  Then, there are those who serve abortion vulnerable women; and still others who help bring healing to those who suffer after their abortion.

These are all very necessary efforts.  Efforts which will bring about their own fruits.

Some of our churches make pro-life efforts an important priority – prayers are offered and practical help and support given.  Others choose to ignore, or even worse, participate in the promotion of abortion.

But there is something incredibly necessary about standing outside of abortion facilities in prayer.  When we do, we bring light where there is only darkness.  We bring hope.  And most importantly, we bring Christ.

We bring this to every mother who walks through the doors of the facility.  To every father.  To every worker.  To every person who passes by.

And our love may be the only love that preborn child may ever know on this earth.

Lives can be saved at the very last moment.

It is humbling.

What’s been happening at the Wellington vigil?

ClareMcClean (Vigil Coordinator)
After initial nerves about starting up again on Ash Wednesday, there was an excitement about being back on the street with friends made from last year’s 40 Days.

Just in the first week it has been amazing to see how new people are being drawn to the prayer vigil:  over one third of the participants are new!

It is also enriching and encouraging to have such a diverse range of Christians:  Pentecostal; Catholic; Salvation Army; Anglican and Reformed Church – all united, both in our thirst for justice for the unborn child, and our hope in God.

Already we have had a few encounters with the public, who are keen to share their views on abortion.  We have had the opportunity to explain the truth about the dignity of the human person by illustrating that the unborn child is not a “nothing” and that human life is not mere animal matter.

There have been many favourable remarks, including from one woman who was keen to see us move to a more visible spot.  On Friday, another woman stopped to tell us not only about two abortions she regrets from her youth, but also the healing and forgiveness she has discovered in Jesus Christ.  She encouraged us to keep working at making the truth known because in the counselling prior to the abortions she was deceived with the lie that “it is only a bit of mucus and nothing to worry about.”

After Abby Johnson’s visit in December, we want the abortion workers to know we care about them, and now have a sign reading “Abortion Worker?  Go to attwn.org“.

It has been a good start to our vigil and we look forward to even more people joining us to pray for an end to abortion!

What’s been happening in Auckland?

Mark Mitchelson (Vigil Coordinator)
Our Auckland vigil has gotten off to a quiet start with many people just turning up to pray.  At times there have been one or two people in prayer, others six or seven, and on Sunday afternoon, we had twelve people – including four children!

While the Auckland vigil has so far predominantly been attended by Catholics, and in particular, the Legion of Mary, there have been a few other attendees.

We have had an overwhelming number of complimentary comments from varied quarters and the verbal attacks have so far, seemed to be much less than last year’s vigil.

On the whole, the weather has been incredible, although for a few days, we had much needed rain, making it tricky for vigil go-ers.

We are encouraging people to sign up on-line prior to attending the vigil as this helps us to plan, but if this is not possible, please do turn up and help save lives!

 

 

Anniversary of assent of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act

Baby holding handToday marks the 37th anniversary of the assent of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act.

On this day in 1977 our parliamentarians made law the “how to” of destroying innocent preborn children in their mothers wombs.

The Act also put forward regulations regarding contraception and sterilisation.

Shockingly females who have disabilities are at the mercy of their parents, caregivers or medical practitioner as to what they believe to be “best” for her.  It is plausible that a medical practitioner may insert an IUD or implant such as Jadelle without parental knowledge, in the course of treating her.  There is nothing in the Act to stop this from happening.  In fact they would be protected from criminal and civil responsibility.

The Act came into effect in two parts:  1 January 1978 and 1 April 1978.  It goes hand in hand with the Crimes Act, which details the reasons a woman can have an abortion and the ages her child in the womb can legally be killed.

This anniversary will largely go unnoticed by most in New Zealand.  Abortion, contraception and sterilisation have become common place in our society today.  But the Act is an important part of our history.  It is also a big black mark that tarnishes our willingness to protect all human life from its very beginning.  Access to abortion, contraception and sterilisation does not give women freedom over their bodies, rather it enslaves them to a lie – a lie which says women are not strong, that motherhood is a curse to be denied and avoided at all costs.

But motherhood is a woman’s strength!  Through motherhood, we women get to shape the world!

Yes, today is a sad day in New Zealand history.  But there is hope.  There are many who are rejecting the culture of death and embracing life.  There are many younger women rejecting the old feminism and embracing motherhood.

The day will come when true freedom will flourish!

The lie of “safe” abortion

Abortion can never be safe.  Any procedure where "success" means the killing of another human being can certainly not be safe.The story of a woman receiving an IUD without her consent at New Zealand’s largest abortion facility should not alarm us.  What is amazing is the fact that this story made the mainstream news at all.

The premise of keeping abortion legal in New Zealand, as it is all over the world, is that it is supposedly safe.  But is it really?

If doctors are inserting IUDs without patient consent, what other dodgy practices are happening within New Zealand abortion facilities?  What complications occur that we never hear about?

The IUD incident is not isolated.  According to the Health and Disability Commissioner’s report there are at least two other times IUDs were fitted without the woman’s consent in the Epsom Day Unit.  There is no way to tell if there have been any more incidents like this we are told by the Auckland District Health Board.  Alarm bells should be ringing.

Just as there is no real way to tell if birth control devices are inserted wrongfully, the recording and reporting of complications of the abortion procedure are just as elusive.

It all depends on what the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) wish to make known.

Until 2013 abortion complications have not been routinely reported by the ASC in their yearly report.  Serious complications, in fact, life-threatening complications happen to women in New Zealand.  This may come as a surprise to many.  After all abortion is supposed to be a “safe” procedure for women isn’t it?NZ abortion complications 2012

 

Note that a total of 33 women experienced a haemorrhage, either alone or with retained placenta/’products’ (baby parts) or some other complication.

Twelve women had their uterus perforated.

How many women suffered complications that are not recorded here because they didn’t see the provider, they went to the emergency room or their GP instead?  How many women will discover in the future that they no longer can conceive?  How many women will discover their abortion causes placenta previa (a potentially life threatening condition for both mother and baby) in a “wanted pregnancy”?

And let’s not forget death. If any woman dies because of a botched abortion in New Zealand, we’ll never know.  The way our system is set up ensures that abortion will never be listed as a cause of death.

Abortion is never safe for the preborn child whose life is brutally ended.

Safe abortion is a lie that needs to be exposed.

 

 

 

New Zealand’s largest abortion facility gives woman IUD without her consent

Reposted from Life Site News
by Michelle Kaufman and Lisa Bourne:

New Zealand’s largest abortion facility is under fire after a woman filed a complaint that they had given her an IUD without her knowledge, despite her repeated objections.

The nation’s Health and Disability Commission, Anthony Hill, filed a report on the 2010 incident this week, reprimanding the Epsom Day Unit abortion facility for faulty processes. The facility performs over 4,000 abortions each year.

“In this case, the operating surgeon did not take reasonable steps to ensure that Ms. A had given her informed consent to the insertion of the IUCD prior to inserting it,” the report said.

According to the report, the doctor who performed the abortion and inserted the IUD (named Dr C in the report) did not recall the woman affected.  But he assumed that the IUD had been placed on the instrument trolley by the nurse, and he inserted it thinking the woman had given consent.

At no time did Dr C ask the woman if she consented to the IUD.  Nor did he check her notes.  Had he done so, he would have seen that condoms had been noted as the preferred choice of ongoing contraception. The woman walked out of the facility not knowing that the IUD had been inserted.

She only discovered the problem in 2013 when she visited her general practitioner after trying to conceive without success for six months.

This was not the first time an IUD had been inserted without patient consent.  According to one of the theatre nurses there were at least two other occurrences.  Dr C did not contest this information.

Some nurses could become “sloppy,” reported the theatre assistant nurse commenting in the report.  She also noted that the system was “like a conveyer belt” at times.

When asked by the Commissioner, the Auckland District Health Board (ADHB), under which the Epsom Day Unit falls, could not supply information about every case that had occurred in the last 10 years where an IUD was inserted without the patient’s consent, or not inserted when consent had been obtained.

The Commissioner found that Dr C had breached the patient’s rights by not gaining her consent before inserting the IUD.  He also found that the Auckland District Health Board failed to provide services to the woman with reasonable care and skill.

The systems have since been changed at the Epsom Day Unit in an attempt to lessen the chance of the incident happening again.

However Dame Colleen Bayer, director of Family Life International NZ, was sceptical, citing the quick turnaround of 5 to 10 minutes for each abortion procedure as concerning.  “Mistakes are being made and no one knows about them,” she said.  “How is this safe, or in the best interest of the woman?”

The Commissioner has recommended that apologies be made to the woman by both Dr C and the ADHB, and that an audit be undertaken by an independent third party to identify inconsistencies in random patient records.  He also recommends that an independent audit be launched to ascertain if the system in place is effective in ensuring the correct procedure is carried out on the patient with their consent.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended the IUD in defending against teen pregnancy, and said that its use is on the increase, pro-life advocates and others warn against its use. In particular, the device acts as an abortifacient, working only once the mother is pregnant, by tearing the fertilized egg from the uterine wall.

The main risk is perforation of the uterine wall, occurring in up to 1 out of every 1000 women, according to its manufacturer. Perforation of the uterus can lead to intestinal, bladder, bowel, or other organ damage, infections, scarring, infertility or death via sepsis. The World Health Organization has classified the chemicals released by the hormonal IUD as Class 1 carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).

The copper IUD bears the same risks of uterine perforation as the hormonal IUD, minus the increased risk of cancer and other side effects caused by the chemical.

Abby Johnson challenges New Zealand pro-lifers

Abby Johnson and Bishop Patrick Dunn
Bishop Patrick Dunn, Bishop of Auckland with Abby Johnson.

Over 500 people traveled to Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin to hear the powerful and inspiring story of Abby Johnson over the last week.

Abby is a former clinic director of a Planned Parenthood facility in Bryan/College Station, Texas.  She worked there out of a great desire to help women in need.  However, after eight years, Abby realised that she had been duped; that Planned Parenthood were only about the acquisition of money and that their services weren’t really as comprehensive as they liked to let on.

After viewing an ultrasound guided abortion of a 13-week-old little boy, Abby’s view of abortion changed and she came to understand over the coming days that she could no longer work at Planned Parenthood.

Abby was invited to come to New Zealand by Family Life International.  The time available was limited, so the decision was made to have presentations in the three city centres where Family Life International has a presence with their John Paul II Centres for Life.  It was hoped that Abby would convey how urgent it is to act, the best way to reach abortion workers, and to give encouragement to those who work so tirelessly for life.

Here are just some of the points that came through from the four talks Abby gave throughout New Zealand:

We must act
Babies are dying, women are being hurt from abortion.  It is horrific. If the government were setting up facilities where women could bring their already born children to be killed, what would you do?  Society would (hopefully) be outraged.  We must be outraged that babies are being torn apart or poisoned in their mother’s wombs.

Each one of us needs to do more
Abby asked for each person to think about what they could do to help make abortion unthinkable.  “If you are not doing anything at all then do something, if you are already doing something, then do more” was an important point that came through every talk.  Prayer is important – vital.  But prayer should lead us to act.

Christians need to start worrying about offending the heart of God
This statement cuts to the very centre of the issue.  We Christians are afraid of offending people.  But we need to worry about offending the heart of God.  Nothing must offend God more than the destruction through abortion of His little ones, made in His image and likeness – and our inaction, our apathy.

There are many ways to act
Every person has gifts to bring the pro-life movement.  Here are just some of the ways you might be able to make a difference:

  • Volunteer at your local pregnancy centre – counselling, answering phones, cleaning, gardening, office administration, fundraising, sorting clothes and baby equipment, teaching classes to mothers, pampering the mothers with beauty treatments…  Medical professionals are also needed:  doctors, nurses, midwives, ultrasound technicians…
  • Reforming the law around abortion.  It concerned Abby that while there is a big push for abortion to come out of the Crimes Act, New Zealand pro-lifer’s were not working on legislation to promote life (that I am aware of – MK).
  • Social Media.  Use social media to our advantage, to speak the truth about the humanity of the preborn child and to speak of the reality of abortion.
  • Education is vitally important.  Some people are born teachers and we have important teaching to do!
  • Presence outside abortion facilities.  We need pray-ers and people to counsel women who are going into the abortion facilities.

Our presence outside abortion facilities is vital
It was noted that most of the abortions in New Zealand occur in public hospitals and this can pose a problem. However this is a brilliant opportunity to educate the general public about what is going on in our hospitals and what abortion actually is!

When we stand outside of abortion facilities we are not there to protest!  It is a powerful witness to what is occurring within the walls of the building.  Sidewalk counsellors have an opportunity to talk to those who are going into the facility for an abortion.  They are able to listen and offer real alternatives and practical support to women who are facing their greatest hour of need at that time.  Those present are also able to reach out to abortion workers, to be a friendly face.  We are not there to condemn, we are there to offer hope and to serve.

Abby encouraged those present at the talks to try praying outside an abortion facility – especially the youth and priests, bishops and pastors of other denominations.  40 Days for Life is a great opportunity to do this.  It was encouraging for those present to hear that it is normal for those who go outside the facilities to feel nervous and “weird” about it.

Abby Johnson and Rebecca and Michael Loretz
Abby Johnson with Mr and Mrs Loretz in Auckland.
Voice for Life Canterbury and Abby Johnson
Youth from Voice for Life Canterbury traveled from Christchurch to Dunedin to hear Abby Johnson speak.
Bishop Colin Campbell and Abby Johnbson
Bishop Colin Campbell, Bishop of Dunedin meets with Abby Johnson
Abby Johnson in Wellington
There was a great turn out in Wellington.

It was an honour to meet so many wonderful people throughout the country as I travelled with Abby and Heather. So many of you are doing many wonderful things to promote life and you genuinely want to do more.  It was encouraging for me to see that.  For more information about what you can do to help Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centres in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin or in the other regions of New Zealand, I would love to hear from you.  Send me an email here.

Together we will make abortion unthinkable in this land!

 

 

 

 

Family Planning’s obsession with sex

Family Planning New Zealand is an organisation obsessed with sex.  And they are especially obsessed with young people exercising their so-called ‘right’ to participate in sex.

Consequences of sexual activity outside of a monogamous committed relationship (that would be marriage) are a nasty by-product of experiencing fleeting ‘pleasure’ in Family Planning’s view.

Concern for the nation’s youth sees Family Planning hold clinics in a total of 56 locations.  23 of those are school-based services, and visits for under 22’s are free.  Regrettably, they have managed to wheedle their way into Catholic schools, influencing teachers and students alike with their propaganda which contradicts the church’s strong (and beautiful) moral teaching on human sexuality.

Providing sexual health services and “education” is a nice little earner for this organisation that has been working hard to desensitise and normalise all manner of sexual behaviours since its inception in 1936 as the Sex Hygiene and Birth Regulation Society.  Their gross income from grants, donations and service provision is around $15.5 million dollars each year.  In the year ended 30 June 2014, that income included government grants of $11.7 million.

Alarmingly Family Planning is pleased with the “success” of their Tauranga abortion facility.  According to their Annual Report 138 women had abortions in the year under review (1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014).

At this clinic Family Planning have been providing early medical abortions since March 2013.  Women are given the drug mifepristone (which blocks the action of the pregnancy hormone progesterone) then some time later (up to 48 hours) another drug, misoprostol, will be administered, expelling the preborn child and pregnancy related tissue.

The application for the license was submitted to the Abortion Supervisory Committee very quietly.  Earlier attempts in 2009 to gain a license for their Hamilton clinic was thwarted when pro-life groups worked together to expose the plan and the risks to women and their preborn children.  But now that they have one license, Family Planning will be looking to provide early medical abortions at all of their clinics.

There should be little surprise then that Family Planning invited Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) to their 2013 Conference in Wellington.

Abortion and sex education are big business for Planned Parenthood.  In fact, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion in the United States.  And Family Planning New Zealand wants to learn from them.

What Family Planning don’t realise is that Planned Parenthood is getting exposed for its lies, dodgy information and greed.  If Family Planning take a page out of Planned Parenthood’s book they may just find themselves sinking in the muck too.

Abby Johnson visiting New Zealand

 

The tragedy of “surplus” embryos

cryopreservationA tragedy is about to unfold in New Zealand history.

Almost 2,000 embryos, lives suspended through cyropreservation, have a final date of existence.  They must be destroyed within six months of November 22nd.

Each of these embryos were created at some time because someone wanted to become a parent.  For whatever reason (and there will be many) these particular embryos, were not transferred into a woman’s womb.

Now, unless special permission has been granted to extend their storage, these embryos must be destroyed.  They have reached what is deemed to be a reasonable storage limit of ten years.  This tragedy will unfold every week in New Zealand from now on as more frozen embryos reach that ten year mark.

This tragedy has no simple or perfect solution.

The embryos are human beings, who have a right to life and inherent dignity.

It is wondered by some, out of deep respect for those whose lives have been suspended and are now to be destroyed, if embryo adoption is a solution.

Some theologians and bio-ethicists, acknowledging that IVF itself is morally illicit, have argued that embryo adoption would be the appropriate solution as the embryos have a right to life.

However there are important considerations to ponder.

The following are just a few of the many things to consider:

Every person has inherent dignity from the moment of conception through to natural death.
The human embryo, created in vitro has the same dignity as every person conceived.

Cryopreseveration (feezing) embryos is an injustice
Dignitas Personae and Donum vitae make it clear that freezing of embryos is  “incompatible with the respect owed to human embryos”. 

No one is obligated to prolong life by extraordinary means.
This is true when someone is nearing the end of their life.  The same principle surely can be applied in this situation. Embryo transfer can be deemed an extraordinary means to save a life, as could indefinite freezing of embryos.

It is unethical for the embryos to be used solely to treat infertility
Many argue that the surplus embryos could go to women who suffer infertility.  However, the Church in Dignitas Personae rules this possibility out aligning it with surrogacy and heterologous procreation (see #19).

Theologians have considered many other things in regard to this issue and to the whole area of reproductive technologies.  The Church is also concerned about the marital union and the rights of the human person.  A simple search on the topic will reveal a number of essays outlining arguments both for and against embryo adoption from the Catholic perspective.

Dignitas Personae speaks of embryo adoption in this way:

It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of “prenatal adoption”. This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.

The document goes on to say that

 All things considered, it needs to be recognized that the thousands of abandoned embryos represent a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved.

Caution in this situation is the most prudent way to proceed.

Allowing the embryos to remain frozen continues the injustice that these embryos have already suffered.

Mauro Cozzoli writes in his article The Human Embryo:  Ethical and Normative Aspects 

The thought that to save a life one must violate other values, and thus add injustice to injustice, is alarming and disheartening.  If one fails to see a way out that can be humanly approved, it is because the road that has been undertaken with artificial procreation is blind and dark, so that the only solution is radical:  to turn back and refuse to continue on it.

It would seem the cautious and most prudent way forward at this time is to allow the final act of life which is death.  Allowing the death of these embryos, affording them the proper dignity due a human person, is not the same as causing their deaths.  They must not simply be disposed of and treated as simple “medical waste”, but given a proper burial befitting a human person.

Now we must commend these little ones to God, while committing ourselves to work for the “reform of morally unacceptable civil laws and the correction of illicit practices.”  (Donum vitae III Moral and Civil Law).

 

Further posts on this topic:
The real cost of IVF in New Zealand:  human life
Calling embryos “reproductive material” is degrading
Frozen with an expiry date
Extrauterine embryos

Nearly 2,000 frozen embryos to be discarded in New Zealand

 

Dignitas Personae on the freezing of embryos

18. One of the methods for improving the chances of success in techniques of in vitrofertilization is the multiplication of attempts. In order to avoid repeatedly taking oocytes from the woman’s body, the process involves a single intervention in which multiple oocytes are taken, followed by cryopreservation of a considerable number of the embryos conceivedin vitro.[35]  In this way, should the initial attempt at achieving pregnancy not succeed, the procedure can be repeated or additional pregnancies attempted at a later date. In some cases, even the embryos used in the first transfer are frozen because the hormonal ovarian stimulation used to obtain the oocytes has certain effects which lead physicians to wait until the woman’s physiological conditions have returned to normal before attempting to transfer an embryo into her womb.

Cryopreservation is incompatible with the respect owed to human embryos; it presupposes their production in vitro; it exposes them to the serious risk of death or physical harm, since a high percentage does not survive the process of freezing and thawing; it deprives them at least temporarily of maternal reception and gestation; it places them in a situation in which they are susceptible to further offense and manipulation.[36]

The majority of embryos that are not used remain “orphans”. Their parents do not ask for them and at times all trace of the parents is lost. This is why there are thousands upon thousands of frozen embryos in almost all countries where in vitro fertilization takes place.

19. With regard to the large number of frozen embryos already in existence the question becomes: what to do with them?  Some of those who pose this question do not grasp its ethical nature, motivated as they are by laws in some countries that require cryopreservation centers to empty their storage tanks periodically. Others, however, are aware that a grave injustice has been perpetrated and wonder how best to respond to the duty of resolving it.

Proposals to use these embryos for research or for the treatment of disease are obviously unacceptable because they treat the embryos as mere “biological material” and result in their destruction. The proposal to thaw such embryos without reactivating them and use them for research, as if they were normal cadavers, is also unacceptable.[37]

The proposal that these embryos could be put at the disposal of infertile couples as atreatment for infertility is not ethically acceptable for the same reasons which make artificial heterologous procreation illicit as well as any form of surrogate motherhood;[38] this practice would also lead to other problems of a medical, psychological and legal nature.

It has also been proposed, solely in order to allow human beings to be born who are otherwise condemned to destruction, that there could be a form of “prenatal adoption”. This proposal, praiseworthy with regard to the intention of respecting and defending human life, presents however various problems not dissimilar to those mentioned above.

All things considered, it needs to be recognized that the thousands of abandoned embryos represent a situation of injustice which in fact cannot be resolved. Therefore John Paul II made an “appeal to the conscience of the world’s scientific authorities and in particular to doctors, that the production of human embryos be halted, taking into account that there seems to be no morally licit solution regarding the human destiny of the thousands and thousands of ‘frozen’ embryos which are and remain the subjects of essential rights and should therefore be protected by law as human persons”.[39]

 

[35] Cryopreservation of embryos refers to freezing them at extremely low temperatures, allowing long term storage.
[36] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae, I, 6: AAS 80 (1988), 84-85.
[37] Cf. numbers 34-35 below.
[38] Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum vitae, II, A, 1-3: AAS80 (1988), 87-89.
[39] John Paul II, Address to the participants in the Symposium on “Evangelium vitae and Law” and the Eleventh International Colloquium on Roman and Canon Law (24 May 1996), 6: AAS 88 (1996), 943-944.