PRESS RELEASE: Serious questions must be asked about Labour’s abortion Bill select committee process

VOICE FOR LIFE PRESS RELEASE

Friday 14 February 2020

Today the Abortion Legislation Bill select committee published their report regarding Labour’s extreme abortion Bill, yet serious questions remain unanswered about this process.

A special select committee was convened just for this Bill, clearly intended to speed up the usual democratic process, and that committee lacked ideological balance. Five of the seven members were strident advocates of this Bill, and only two were not.

This lack of balance and the agenda driven nature of the select committee process was clearly evident when oral submissions were being heard.

“We personally witnessed and experienced firsthand the lack of basic respect that was shown by the committee members who are staunch advocates of this Bill” says Kate Cormack, Voice for Life Media Spokesperson.

“It was not uncommon to see pro-bill committee members on their phones instead of actually listening to those who were making oral submissions. Then when it came to question time, irrelevant or even prejudicial questions were weaponised against oral submitters who made challenges to the validity of the Bill.”  

Even more troubling to the validity of this process is the fact that this select committee refused to hear 95% of the New Zealanders who requested to make an oral submission about this Bill. 

“This is extremely concerning, and highly unusual, especially when you consider that this select committee had no other business to attend to apart from this Bill.”

By way of comparison, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill received just 10,000 written submissions and yet the Environment Committee heard 1500 oral submissions. 

Labour’s abortion Bill received over 25,000 written submissions yet only approx. 150 oral submissions were allowed to be heard.

“This has all the hallmarks of a stacked select committee and a Labour government desperately trying to subvert genuine democracy so that they can ram this extreme Bill through as fast as possible.”

“The fact that the report was quietly published late on a Friday afternoon tends to speak to a government desperate to avoid public and media scrutiny of the extreme nature of what this Bill contains.”

ENDS

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