Last night TVNZ’s Q+A interviewed Labour’s Minister of Justice, Andrew Little – the MP who is publicly fronting Jacinda Arden’s extreme abortion Bill.
It didn’t take long for him to start misleading the public by refusing to answer simple questions about this Bill.
Firstly, when Andrew Little was challenged about the fact that National MP Chris Penk had pointed out that the Bill would liberalise abortion right up to birth, he initially responded with an insult:
“that’s an absurd statement that gets made by the fanatic anti-abortion people”
After moving on from the childish name-calling, Andrew Little then went on to make a very odd claim about the term ‘abortion up to birth’:
“There’s no such thing as abortion right up to birth. A foetus that leaves the womb at birth is called a ‘birth’, so let’s get that right.”
What does that even mean?
Every thinking person knows that the phrase ‘abortion up to birth’ is simply another way of saying that abortion would be legal through all nine months of pregnancy.
So his initial answer to that question was truly bizarre, and it was one of the strangest attempts at avoiding giving an honest answer about exactly how far into a pregnancy abortion would be allowed under this new abortion Bill.
He then carried on in this same vein of refusing to give a straight answer to this very simple question when he stated:
“The reality is, when you look at when abortions happen for New Zealand women, the bulk of them happen up to 16 weeks, actually 90% happen in the first trimester.”
You’ll notice that he still isn’t answering the actual question that was put to him.
Instead he is now talking about what happens under the current law, where abortion up to birth is not legal unless it is being performed to save the mother’s life or prevent serious permanent injury to physical or mental health.
But that legal restriction will no longer apply under this new extreme abortion Bill that Labour is proposing.
Their Bill – and let me quote directly from the Explanatory Note of the Bill – would do the following (emphasis added):
This Bill repeals the current legal grounds for authorising an abortion. It also repeals the role of, and requirement for, certifying consultants.
The effect of the changes is that,—
- for a woman who is not more than 20 weeks pregnant, there would be no statutory test that the health practitioner needs to apply. The practitioner would continue to be required to ensure that the woman makes an informed choice and gives informed consent:
- for a woman who is more than 20 weeks pregnant, the statutory test would require the health practitioner to reasonably believe that abortion is appropriate with regard to the pregnant woman’s physical and mental health, and well- being. In addition, the practitioner would continue to be required to ensure that the woman makes an informed choice and gives informed consent.
You’ll notice straight away that what Labour is proposing here is a law that would:
a) Remove all the current legal grounds for abortion
b) Remove the requirement for two certifying doctors to approve the abortion
c) Make abortion on-demand legal right up to 20 weeks
d) Make abortion right up to birth legal as long as the arbitrary and loosely defined criteria of one medical practitioner (and, because the Bill will also create “a provision to ensure that a woman can self-refer to an abortion service provider”, this is likely to be the abortionist) believing that the abortion is appropriate ‘with regard to the pregnant woman’s physical and mental health, and well- being’ is met.
You’ll notice that after 20 weeks there is no longer any requirement for the life of the mother to be in danger, or for there to be a risk of serious permeant damage to physical or mental health.
Instead, one abortionist would now simply have to ‘reasonably believe that the abortion is appropriate with regard to the pregnant woman’s physical and mental health, and well-being.’
You’ll also notice that nowhere does it state that abortions cannot be performed after a certain point in the pregnancy.
In other words, if this Bill was to become law, to carry out an abortion at ANY STAGE AFTER 20 WEEKS, an abortionist would simply have to say ‘I have considered the physical and mental health, and personal well-being of this woman and I have concluded that an abortion is appropriate.’
Make no bones about it, this is definitely a liberalisation of the current law (as National MP Chris Penk rightly claimed) and the new criteria are extremely loose and arbitrary.
The promoters of this Bill might be claiming that this represents a conservative approach to abortion, but it is nothing of the sort.
Don’t forget that abortion activists have also been claiming for many, many months now that New Zealand women are routinely lying in order to get abortions.
No one in the media seems to have even considered asking these same abortion activists ‘if this is true, why women wouldn’t also start lying about their health and well-being if they wanted to access a late term abortion under this new Bill?’
When you compare what Andrew Little said on last night’s Q+A interview, with the actual content of the Bill he is promoting it is very clear that he wasn’t giving honest answers about this Bill.
The deceptive nature of his answers became even more obvious when the interviewer then proceeded to ask him:
“purely hypothetically… if a woman were to go to a doctor after 22 weeks, and say ‘I want an abortion’, and the doctor was to say ‘yes’, there is nothing to stop that from happening?”
Andrew Little again refused to answer the question honestly, instead he stated:
“Except that the health professional is subject to that statutory obligation.”
The ‘statutory obligation’ he is referring to is the one mentioned earlier. So, in other words, no, there is nothing to stop that abortion from happening as long as the abortionist says; ’I have considered the physical and mental health, and personal well-being of this woman and I have concluded that an abortion is appropriate.’
Andrew Little then quickly diverted away, and instead tried to explain why he felt that he didn’t have to give a clear answer to this simple question:
“we can have all these arguments at the margins, but the reality is that those sorts of arguments come down to one proposition, they come from people who don’t trust women to make a decision.”
Remember, this statement is being made by a man who is being interviewed in his capacity as the Minister of Justice, about a new Bill that his Government is promoting in order to radically change our abortion laws.
To suggest that he shouldn’t have to give straight answers to simple questions about the effects of that law because he considers that to be a needless case of “arguments at the margins” is absolutely astounding.
This is precisely the point with new Bills like this one – the devil is in the details, and politicians owe us straight answers about those devilish details when they are asked to provide them.
After throwing out some vacuous insults, that sounded exactly like talking points that an ideologically driven abortion activist would make, Andrew Little then made the claim that NZ women who have abortions are:
“stigmatised by knowing that what they re doing in the first instance is a crime”
This is simply not true, and the fact that the Minister of Justice is making such blatantly dishonest claims means that he either doesn’t understand the laws he is referring to, or he isn’t interested in speaking truthfully about them.
It is not a crime to have an abortion in New Zealand.
If you following the abortion laws of our country you can have a legal abortion.
Abortion is only a crime if you break the laws and have an illegal one.
In fact, the Crimes Act 1961 explicitly exempts New Zealand women from liability – which means that they cannot be criminally charged under the Crimes Act when it comes to abortion.
The only possible penalty that a woman could face is a maximum fine of $200 for receiving an unlawful abortion, and that comes from the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act of 1977, not the Crimes Act.
It is the height of dishonesty to claim that it is a crime to have an abortion in New Zealand, or that women who have legal abortions in this country are committing a criminal act.
This is like saying that driving a car is a crime in New Zealand because it is illegal to get behind the wheel if you don’t have a diver’s license, the car is not registered, or you drive drunk.
Hearing Andrew Little, the Minister of Justice, make claims like this in the media exposes just how dishonest the Labour Government is willing to be in their attempts to get their extreme abortion Bill is passed into law.
To his credit, the interviewer, who was still trying to get a clear answer out of Andrew Little about how late abortions can be performed under Labour’s abortion Bill, then pressed the issue and asked Andrew Little this very straightforward question:
‘under the law, as you have proposed, how late can an abortion go?’
Once again, Andrew Little wouldn’t give a straight answer to this very simple question, instead he started by stating:
“Well, under the law at the moment, you can have an abortion after 20 weeks, but there is a statutory threshold that applies.”
Again, this has no meaningful bearing on Labour’s new Bill, because their Bill would strike down that old statutory test and introduce the new and much looser set of criteria.
Remember, Andrew Little was specifically asked to clarify how late their new Bill would allow abortions to take place. Instead of answering that simple question he starts talking about the current law. (Possibly because he knows that giving honest answers would contradict his earlier attempts to ridicule the idea that the Bill would allow abortion right up to birth)
He then finishes his answer by talking about abortion trends – trends that are happening under the current abortion law where it is illegal to abort a child after 20 weeks unless the life of the mother is in danger, or there is a risk of serious permeant damage to physical or mental health:
“But when you look at it, the reality is, once you get to 20 weeks you are dealing with very, very small numbers of women, and you’re dealing with pregnancies that are hugely troubled – that is, either compromising the woman’s health, or the foetus health is deeply compromised. The bulk of abortions happen in the first trimester, and with another 8% or so up to 16 weeks.”
What he still hasn’t done though, is actually answer the very simple question that was put to him when he was asked: ‘under the law, as you have proposed, how late can an abortion go?’
The answer, of course, is that according to the content of the actual Bill, it could happen right up to birth, and it could happen under the new and extremely loose criteria of a health practitioner simply concluding that they have considered the physical and mental health, and personal well-being of the woman and come to the belief that an abortion is appropriate.
Talking about late term abortions under the current law – which bans them unless the mother is in danger – is a deceptive and misleading. The current legal restrictions on late term abortions will no longer apply if Jacinda Ardern’s abortion Bill becomes law, and at that point, late term abortions will become legal as long as a very loose and arbitrary criteria is met.
The fact that the Minister of Justice refuses to provide honest answers regarding this simple point does not bode well, and it only makes you want to ask: what else in this extreme abortion Bill are Labour not being 100% honest about?