Misrepresenting the current abortion law

June 12th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As I previously blogged, I support changing the law so that pregnant women don’t have to claim not having an  would be a threat to their mental (or physical) health. In practice we have on demand, but now in law.

However misrepresenting the current law is wrong, as done by a Green Party staffer.

Greens-Media-Spokesperson1

That is entirely wrong. The current law in no way says abortion is illegal full stop. Pro-life NZ points out the current law.

Now as I said, I agree with Leah, and disagree with Pro-life NZ, on changing the law. But I can’t condone such blatant mistruths being told about the current law.

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35 Responses to “Misrepresenting the current abortion law”

  1. thedavincimode (6,759 comments) says:

    ignition … and lift off …

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  2. Elaycee (4,392 comments) says:

    Misrepresenting….?

    That’s a polite way to put it, DPF. But it hardly comes as a surprise…

    The use of distortions, blatant porkies and ‘misrepresentations’ are all contained in Chapter 1 of the Gween Party Operating Manual, aren’t they?

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  3. Huevon (222 comments) says:

    Abortion is murder. Kidd yourself is much as you want.

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  4. stephieboy (3,042 comments) says:

    Thanks for that DPF and yes its misleading to say that abortion is illegal and am not sure whether the Greens with their proposals takes things forward. I’t’s a difficult and complex issue and i think the present law is as good as you can get steering a middle ground between the extremes of the antis and the pros.
    My view is that abortion/ termination should never be taken lightly and it’s nothing to approached casually or as an afterthought. But I do recognize that there are genuine cases as in rape , danger to the life of the mother or evidence of serious abnormalities.

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  5. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,903 comments) says:

    stephieboy

    18,000 genuine cases every year?

    Bullshit.

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  6. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    99% of the terminations carried out in this country are done under false premises.

    The act as written is being ignored, the de facto law in this area is being set by doctos who have agreed to sign each others certificates.

    ultimately, most people don’t seem to care sadly. so we have de facto murder on demand.

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  7. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    An ex-girlfriend of mine had an abortion once. I guess she had to claim a threat to mental health to get it done, which was untrue – the decision resulted from immaturity and convenience. The irony is that her mental health deteriorated for real post-abortion because of the abortion. Sound advice was sadly lacking from a number of quarters at the time.

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  8. stephieboy (3,042 comments) says:

    Adolf Fiinkensein , allow me to emphasize a point I made,

    “My view is that abortion/ termination should never be taken lightly and it’s nothing to approached casually or as an afterthought.”

    How that is implemented is another thing and yes, 18,000 seems unnecessarily high but am not sure how to reduce that to zero. ?

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  9. Unity (583 comments) says:

    Too many are using it as a back-up to contraception failure, or because the mother or the father decide they don’t want a baby. I’m all for it being done if there is a serious abnormality within the baby, it would endanger the mother’s health and more particularly rape. Other than that, if they decide they don’t want a baby after all, they should go full term and then have it adopted out to one of the many good potential parents out there who would dearly love a child.

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  10. tvb (4,420 comments) says:

    There are real mental health risks post abortion. But this is a very complex issue with no easy answers. Up to about 20 weeks the law is adequate. After 20 weeks the child’s life is paramount and in some cases a pregnancy must be terminated but not the child’s life.

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  11. Unity (583 comments) says:

    tvb, forgive my ignorance, but how do you terminate a pregnancy but not the child’s life around the 20 weeks mark? That would be around 5 months and I would say that unless the termination was a few more weeks further on, the baby would die. If the child is going to be seriously disabled and unable to function normally, then a think a termination would be a kindness all round. If the mother has other children and the seriously disabled baby is allowed to live, then it has been proven over and over again that the other children miss out on so much because everything is geared towards the seriously disabled baby.

    Still, as the opinion of the public is very divided on this issue, there is no point arguing with someone who is pro-life no matter what. I’m pro-life unless rape, the mother’s health, or serious disability of the baby are involved. Then I believe it should be the mother’s decision mainly as she is the one bearing the child and she could decide whether or not to take the father’s desire into account.

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  12. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    I cannot remember where I read it but this Greens policy was actually written by a pro abortion lobby group and the Greens just “rubber stamped it” as their policy.

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  13. All_on_Red (1,582 comments) says:

    The Greens telling lies? So what’s new. They do it all the time.

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  14. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    This is a divisive issue and the Green Party have bought it up to distract from real politics before the election, IMHO. I think we need to be very careful to maintain a civil debate here.

    @Unity, I worked at Epsom Day in an ancillary field, in the late 90s and early 00’s. With respect, you’re talking complete tosh. There were very few (not none, but few) that used abortion as a method of contraception. Those people were also heavily counseled in attempts to discuss a more responsible way of life. In addition, to add to tvb’s argument, before ~22-24 weeks the fetus cannot survive outside the womb. In the past, this has been used as a test for “person hood” i.e. if it cannot survive independently, it does not have its own “life”. You also need to understand that trying to save a 22 week old fetus involves heroic measures and almost always leaves a severely damaged child. I would link to pictures in order for you to truly understand this, but that would be grotesque the extreme and insensitive to the children themselves (many of whom die before the age of 5) as well as insensitive to other readers who might inadvertently click.

    My personal opinion: up to and including 12-14 weeks – let it be and go on. After 12 weeks, there needs to be some serious consideration here (e.g. threat to mothers life). Most women can miss a period, even two … but not three, that’s willful blindness. Again, that’s an opinion of mine and I respect all of your right(s) to dissent.

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  15. G152 (339 comments) says:

    Abortions should be treated as a medical procedure and a patient/doctor decision

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  16. Unity (583 comments) says:

    Pharmachick – 18,000 abortions every year for medical reasons? That’s a huge amount surely!!

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  17. big bruv (13,887 comments) says:

    There is a golden rule when dealing with the stinking Greens.

    Trust nothing they say, and nothing they do.

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  18. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    Unity, well yes actually… lets do some back-of-the envelope calculations …

    According to the 2013 Census (here: http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2013-census/data-tables/dhb-tables.aspx)

    there are 860,601 women of reproductive age (which I have defined as 15 – 44). Now, that is problematic because actually, reproductive age is usually starting around 12 and may extend into the 50s depending on menopause. So for arguments sake I will include the outliers tot he tune of 900,000 women of reproductive age in NZ.

    Therefore 18,000/900,000 (X100) = 2 % of women OF “REPRODUCTIVE” age, loosely defined in NZ.

    If you perform this as a percentage of all women in 2013 (2,178,033) you get 0.83% of women in NZ having an abortion. So I guess that either 98% or 99.17% (depending on how you define it) of women are not having abortions.

    Even 2% seems high I suppose. But; for example; over 25% of women of reproductive age in NZ are on some form of medical contraception (source here: ). The system is working as well as it can, and women are not dying for coat hangers in back rooms.

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  19. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Here is the link to what I was referring to above about the greens policy being written by a pro abortion group

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2014/06/imagine-outcry-business-roundtable-wrote-policy-right/

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  20. Unity (583 comments) says:

    Thanks Pharmachick. Yes, thankfully women are not dying because of back street abortions, but I still maintain that 18,000 abortions done for medical reasons sounds huge. That’s over 346 per week – mostly for medical reasons!! However I will take your word for it that they are mostly not done as a back-up for contraception failures.

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  21. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    It amuses me greatly that people are using the figure of 18,000 abortions per year in a discussion about misrepresentation.

    Why would you tell lies when the statistics are so easy to verify?

    There were 14,745 abortion in New Zealand in 2012 (the last period for which statistics are available). This is the lowest number of abortions since 1995 and the lowest rate of abortion (per 1,000 population) since 1993.

    http://imgur.com/n3Bsgjf.gif

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  22. Nukuleka (325 comments) says:

    I am bemused by this magic figure of 20 weeks. Are we supposed to believe that up to 20 weeks a foetus is a nothing and that suddenly and magically overnight once it is 20 weeks and one day old it becomes human life? Nonsense. It is a human being from the moment of conception. I cannot believe that so many New Zealanders lack basic human compassion for the most vulnerable members of our society. Abortion is murder.

    The Greens have more compassion for animals than for human beings.

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  23. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    With all due respect Pharmachick, your back-of-the-envelope calculations are irrelevant. The real question is what percentage of abortions are conducted each year due to a valid threat to the mother’s mental or physical health? Anecdotally, you are telling us that most are, but the fact that campaigners for law change are saying that the current law doesn’t reflect reality suggests otherwise.

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  24. Ashley Schaeffer (487 comments) says:

    The system is working as well as it can, and women are not dying for coat hangers in back rooms.

    The coat-hangers in back rooms gambit is a red herring and needs to be retired. It presupposes that abortion is a morally acceptable practice for a society and this is the real issue at the source of the debate. In other words, if abortion is an immoral act then it can’t be justified simply because it may protect a small number of women choosing to do something reckless.

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  25. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    Nukuleka (126 comments) says:
    June 12th, 2014 at 2:16 pm
    I am bemused by this magic figure of 20 weeks. Are we supposed to believe that up to 20 weeks a foetus is a nothing and that suddenly and magically overnight once it is 20 weeks and one day old it becomes human life? Nonsense. It is a human being from the moment of conception.

    What is so magical about conception? Nothing really, it is as arbitrary as 20 weeks.

    It is similar to saying that someone becomes an adult on his 18th birthday. What is so magical about 18? He is not an adult the day before and instantly an adult the day after.
    You argument is basically equivalent to saying 18 is completely arbitrary therefore a person becomes an adult at birth.

    Just like a person becomes an adult the development is of a fetus into a baby is a long process. There is no one definite point at which it becomes human. Conception is certainly not that point.

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  26. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    @Unity….
    Thanks, I understand that you don’t necessarily agree with the procedure etc but I appreciate you taking my word for it in terms of “very little use of abrotion as contraception”. It was not the easiest part of my professional career, but the Staff (medical, psychological, etc) in those places come close to saintliness in their integrity and approaches to patient care and to trying to improve individual lives. Seriously. But yeah, 18K is a lot.

    @Nukuleka …
    Actually, in the interests of fairness and truth, the earliest saved fetus that I am aware of was in the USA and was 20 wks (which as we know is 18-22 wks under current accuracy of post-conceptional timing). In the past, the general (judicial) test for “independent life” has been independent survival outside the womb. It is also of note that even though heroic measures have been used to save 22-24 week fetuses in the last few years (usually resulting in “alive” but catastrophically damaged babies, that commonly die very young); it is generally considered at 26-28 weeks (with steroids to help develop the lungs + millions of dollars in medical care) the baby *MIGHT* make it. I believe the “20” week standard is being applied as that is the earliest known surviving baby. I don’t know the full details of that case, but my [informed] opinion is that the poor wee tyke was most like left in a fairly bad state.

    @Ashely Schaeffer…
    you raise an excellent point under the law of the land in NZ all of those cases would have to include a “psychological harm” component. I ask you (genuinely) what is the psychological burden of going ahead with an unwanted pregnancy and bringing up an unwanted child or giving up a child for adoption… it is my opinion that under those questions “Psychological harm” is fairly easy to prove.

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  27. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    Hi Gump,

    Thanks.

    well then the calculation would be 14,745/~900,000 = 1.6% of “Reproductive aged women” or total woman population in NZ (2.1M) = 0.7% of all NZ women having abortions.

    Therefore, either 98.4% or 99.3% of NZ women are not having abortions, depending on how one defined a “woman eligible for abortion in NZ”.

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  28. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @Pharmachick

    If you want to got through the figures, you can download the latest statistics from the following link (as an XLS spreadsheet).

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/~/media/Statistics/Browse%20for%20stats/AbortionStatistics/HOTPYeDec12/abortions-dec12-all-tables.xls

    These figures can also be used to answer questions such as “is abortion used as a recurring form of contraception”. In 2012 the figures for previous abortions were:

    62.1% of the women had never had a previous abortion (9,160)
    24.7% of the women had previously had a single abortion (3,648)
    13.1% of the women had previously had two or more abortions (1,937)

    So the overwhelming majority of abortions were performed on women who had never undergone the procedure before.

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  29. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    My understanding is that abortion is still in the Crimes Act, and therefore still illegal. The ASC Act only provides for exceptions to this, and procedures for obtaining those exceptions.

    I find it awkward that some leftists and feminists consider abortion almost a sacrament and a “human right”. I don’t. It is the taking of human life, and the only acceptable number of abortions is zero. But I’ve always said the best way of reducing abortion would be first and foremost to legalise commercial surrogacy and adoption. I am more cagey on the idea of further legal restrictions, mostly because I think that it is a waste of time imprisoning people for having or performing them. For now I am content that it is fairly difficult to get an abortion in New Zealand, as it should be when contemplating the taking of human life, even for purportedly noble/moral reasons. I would be horrified if the seriousness of the act was diminished by loosening the law to allow abortion on demand, as it is here in the United States.

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  30. Pharmachick (235 comments) says:

    Thank you Gump,

    as you have no doubt read, I knew this from personal experience. But anecdotes are not especially strong. These data are much more compelling. I very much mourn the 1937, which is a much higher percentage than my experience – although that is now nearly 15 years old and the world moves on.
    Cheers
    Edits: grammar

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  31. Unity (583 comments) says:

    I hesitate to be a fly in the ointment but I wonder how many of those stats, even the first time ones, were ‘supposedly’ for health reasons when in fact they were because the woman didn’t want a baby at that time, or ever. I’m not saying this is the case at all, but if I was desperate not to have the baby I was carrying I’m sure I could fool the Doctor that my stability would be badly affected if it went ahead, for one reason or another and this would cause me health problems.

    Now I’m sure I will be cried down but it is surely an interesting scenario and I would say it has actually happened, though goodness knows how many times.

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  32. eszett (2,408 comments) says:

    I find it awkward that some leftists and feminists consider abortion almost a sacrament and a “human right”.

    Quite ironic, given your staunch opposition to abortion is most likely based on your religious beliefs.

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  33. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    It’s a complicated situation. Section 187A of the Crimes Act sets forth the conditions under which abortion access is ‘permissible’ under New Zealand law. At present, most terminations are performed under the ‘threat to mental health’ section of S 187A and both pro-choice and anti-abortion groups are critical of this designation. The anti-abortionists whine that the CSA Act and Crimes Act S187A are being interpreted far too liberally, but as there is no legislative definition of the blastocyst/zygote/embryo/fetus within the statute in question and the decision is left to women and their doctors with no opportunity for interference from anti-abortionists, they cannot prove that the mental health criteria within S 187A are being abused. The definitive case in this context continues to be Wall v Livingston (1983), in which an anti-abortion GP tried to interfere with the abortion decision of a young woman with cardiovascular problems and the two certifying consultants established under the CSA Act to assess women’s eligibility for doing do. He failed. For the last thirty years, that court decision has been used to resist anti-abortionist attempts to hijack the judicial and regulatory process.

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  34. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    Insofar as viability is concerned, respiratory development is an important developmental stage. Before about twenty eight weeks, the fetus has insufficient alveolar development in its lungs to survive independently from a pregnant woman, no matter what techonological aids are used. In terms of other misinformation usually disseminated by anti-abortionists, fetuses cannot feel “pain” due to insufficient neurohormonal development until the fortieth week of pregnancy. However, an overwhelming number of terminations are performed between the eighth and twelfth weeks, so sentience is not an issue in this context.

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  35. BlairM (2,339 comments) says:

    Quite ironic, given your staunch opposition to abortion is most likely based on your religious beliefs.

    The irony was intended. We have our sacraments and they have theirs. Ours bring life and theirs bring death.

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