by Jacqui de Ruiter, President of Voice for Life
On Monday night’s Leaders Debate, Patrick Gower asked Jacinda Ardern what she would do about abortion if she became Prime Minister.
Without hesitation, she said there would be no review, abortion would be “decriminalised”.
I suspect that the majority of viewers would think that her use of the word “decriminalize”, means that women seeking an abortion are somehow under the current law, “criminals”.
She was saying in effect, “I will remove the law and you won’t be treated as criminals.”
That is really misleading and she is saying this out of ignorance of what the 1961 Crimes Act states, or she does know and is willfully creating an impression.
The fact is that Section 183 (2) of the Crimes Act states that no woman can be convicted for having an abortion.
We have had lawyers check it out and that is what the law says. Look up the 1961 Crimes Act online and see for yourself.
Immunity from prosecution for an abortion is a British and American legal tradition (and by extension to New Zealand) going back over 150 years. It is based on the premise and experience that it was practically impossible to produce safe evidence for a conviction.
There could be factors like coercion involved. Instead the courts focused on the abortionist and held that immunity from prosecution, enabled women to freely testify against them.
Therefore, the reality is that when abortion-rights supporters and their allies in Parliament talk of “decriminalization”, there is actually nothing to decriminalize, with the exception of Section 44, which is employed as a safety deterrent to protect women.
Now, wearing my nurse’s hat, I ask you to consider the implications of what Jacinda is supporting. She is supporting unrestricted abortion up to birth.
If she isn’t, then she should quickly tell us what restrictions she wants set in place.
As a nurse over many years of practical experience, I have cared for pregnant women in often difficult circumstances and there are always two patients: the mother and her baby.
We are no longer ignorant, or in the dark, about the reality of what a baby looks like in the womb, because of the development of ultrasound pictures.
Pregnant women take delight in showing the pictures to their family, friends and workmates, so today there is a much greater awareness of what a baby looks like.
Which brings me to the procedures nurses would be required to assist with, if Jacinda and her like-minded colleagues bring in unrestricted abortion.
Second-trimester abortions involved dismemberment of the living baby. The operating surgeon leaves the room and the nurses are left to clean up. The baby has to be re-assembled to ensure that no body tissue is left in the uterus and then prepared for disposal as “medical waste”.
Third-trimester abortions involve an injection of potassium chloride into the baby’s heart and then labour is induced. Were it not for the lethal injection, these babies could be born alive and there are plenty of couples who would love to adopt them.
Some nursing staff can handle late-term abortions, but many find it very distressing and dread seeing their names on the roster. Internal briefing papers to the Ministry of Health from District Health Boards describe the problems and the difficulty retaining staff.
It’s all very well for Jacinda and her colleagues to talk of “decriminalisation” and no restrictions, but they will never have to help provide “service delivery” in an abortion operating theatre.
The model they want to bring in here is the Abortion Law Reform Act passed by the Victorian State Parliament in 2008. It allows for abortion up to birth.
When the Bill was being debated, an amendment was introduced to mandate giving pain relief to second-trimester babies facing dismemberment. It was voted down by a large majority, which tells you something.