The abortion vote

Derek Cheng in the NZ Herald reports:

Parliament had a rare personal vote yesterday when Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia sought to appoint a doctor strongly opposed to to the Supervisory Committee.

Mrs Turia’s amendment threw a spanner in the works of what was meant to be a simple vote on a motion to appoint Dr Tangimoana Frances Habib and reappoint Professor Dame Linda Jane Holloway and Rev Patricia Ann Allan to the committee. …

In addressing the House, Mrs Turia said the issue of abortion was central to family well-being. “The protection and preservation of whakapapa and genealogy is fundamental to the broken health of our whanau.

“I think about the precious heartbeat of every child, and I think about the comment that Ngati Whatua leader Naida Glavish once made, that there is no such thing as an unwanted mokopuna.”

She asked for a personal vote on the amendment to appoint Wellington doctor Ate Moala to the committee instead of Ms Allan.

Dr Moala has advocated chastity and abstinence, and last year was a guest speaker at the All For Life conference in Nelson.

The article lists who voted which way. Around 20 Mps were absent and one abstained. The only party with split votes was National. All four Maori Party MPs voted in favour. No ACT, Green, Labour or United MPs voted in favour. Hone voted against. Of the 52 National Mps who voted, 27 were in favour, and 25 against. I’m relatively pleased with that. A few years ago I suspect many more National MPs would have voted in favour. National has a blend of socically conservative and socially liberal MPs – and it is a strength to be in a party tolerant of diverse viewpoints. But my concern in the past has been that there hasn’t been enough balance – ie too few social liberals. Things seem to be moving in the right direction (from my point of view)

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