Comment from VFL NZ President, Jacqui de Ruiter

Terry Bellamak of ALRANZ presents six complainants to justify her claims of discrimination to the Human Rights Commission. She is seeking a legal ruling in her strategy to normalise abortion and overlooking why doctors treat it as a serious medical procedure with dire consequences for the patient if things go wrong – as they sometimes do.

There are necessary checks and balances in the system, not to perversely delay the procedure, but for the patient’s safety and in Kate’s case to protect nurses from the trauma of witnessing the dismemberment of a 20-week old baby and putting his or her body parts together again.

Abortion is unlike any other medical procedure because it involves the deliberate ending of the life of a child. It’s not like removing a wart, or a bunion.

It is in the Crimes Act for example, because sometimes a woman’s partner kicks her in the stomach and beats her to kill her preborn baby, or she is literally forced or coerced into having an abortion against her will. The current law recognises that the procedure deliberately ends a human life and is a compromise of competing rights.

Newsroom’s report takes the women’s stories at face value, but there are things that don’t add up. Kate is told she is pregnant within the first trimester (12 weeks) and then chooses to wait until she is 18 weeks pregnant.

An abortion at that stage involves a specialist theatre, an anaesthetist and nurses who have to witness the dismembering of the baby and then put the body together again in case any tissue is left behind. It is a matter of record that these D&E abortions are so traumatic that valued staff reason, and that is the main reason most hospitals decline to do them.

Kate went on to have her baby and is miserable. Nobody seems to have explained about the option of Open Adoption or Family Start, the free Government sponsored, intensive care support that would have begun when she was pregnant and carried on.

Sally complains of an “incredibly difficult process. Because of all the appointments, the ultrasound, the blood tests, the signing off by two certified consultants – all which seemed like arbitrary hoops – my abortion was delayed until I was 10 weeks pregnant.”

Here is what happens” you see a doctor, or Family Planning who refer you for an abortion. The second stage is an appointment at the abortion clinic, who carry out an ultrasound scan to determine the size of the baby, blood tests and other essential medical enquiries. You only see if a counsellor if you request to see one. These tests are not “arbitrary hoops” but responsible standard medical precautions.

The third stage is the actual abortion procedure.

Tracy tells how three doctors in a row told her she was “immoral” and gave her no ideas about how to care for the child. We have her word for that, despite GPs as a whole being professional in how they would handle such a situation and again there is Family Start to help her.

Jane says her doctor told her she had to wait until after nine weeks, because doctors need to be able to hear the heartbeat. She found that was untrue. Of course it was, heartbeats are monitored during the second stage appointment at the clinic.

ALRANZ are cavalier in seeking legal normalisation of abortion whilst ignoring doctors duty of care to their patients to ensure that a serious medical procedure whether through chemical or surgical procedures, is carried out as safely as possible.

Jacqui de Ruiter

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