Want Some Answers ???Introduction
Dear Mrs Shipley,
Thank you for your letter regarding abortion (4th June 1996). Could I reply to a few matters you raised ? I quote you -
“I must reiterate that abortion is legal in New Zealand within the terms of the relevant Legislation, and that there are no plans to amend the legislation”
It appears you don’t know NZ Law. The “relevant Legislation” says that abortion is illegal except under certain circumstances. The fact is abortion is illegal and only legal by exception. And so, to say its legal in NZ is a half-truth which has allowed the law to be misused and the “full regard to the rights of the unborn child” are ignored. If you read the Crimes Act, headed “Crimes Against the Person” you will soon see what NZ Law has to say about abortion. You will then understand why 99% of abortions in this country according to the Crimes Act are “unlawful”.
In the first 20 weeks of pregnancy abortion is unlawful unless - “serious danger” -“seriously handicapped” - “severely subnormal” - “Age - end of child-bearing”. After the first 20 weeks of pregnancy abortion is unlawful unless “serious permanent injury”.
Have you heard of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ? It says that every member of the human family has an inalienable right to life. It appears we are constantly in breach of our own law and of international instruments which reflect the natural law written in the human heart.
Your comment also indicates a failure with the new strategy on Sexual Reproductive Health. This strategy does not address any abuse of the law, which allows the high abortion levels. According to these levels, the Contraception Sterilization and Abortion Act 1977 has also been ignored. Originally in 1970 the law allowed abortion only to save the life of the mother. Since the opening of the first clinic in 1974 the law has become abused. Since 1968 there have been nearly 160,000 unborn New Zealanders destroyed [The Road-Toll is nothing in comparison].
The Royal Commission on Contraception, Sterilization and Abortion said in 1977 “...the unborn child, as one of the weakest, the most vulnerable, and most defenceless forms of humanity, should receive protection.” The intention of the CS&A Act was to provide protection for unborn babies yet today we have abortion-on-demand. If the law is at fault, it needs to be reviewed to establish why it is failing.
The prime excuse for 11,000 abortions last year was said to be “Psychological damage” to the mother. [Mother’s don’t blame lack of contraceptives or lack of sexual knowledge]. In most cases bearing a child is not convenient to someone who also doesn’t want such responsibilities for the next 10 years. Or the child is a product of an relationship that began and ended in the heat of passion. Invariably most abortion in NZ is simply a matter of ‘choice’.
This is an international problem. A recent radio report indicated that 1% of all abortions in USA were due to incest, rape, or threat to the mothers life. While the other 99% were “literally human sacrifices on alters of a word we call choice”. I quote you,
“I am concerned at the rise in the level of abortions. I doubt that it is possible to find an ‘acceptable level’ given the range of opinion and experience within a community.”
For years the Government has showed little concern yet so many good people are willing to give these babies a life. Abortions increased by 59% in the last 10 years yet adoption rates are insignificant. In 1994 there was just 683 adoptions and there is still many who would love to adopt a baby. If Politicians are concerned, why ignore the many New Zealanders willing to give these unborn babies an opportunity to live ? To quote you -
“I am advised that foetal remains are not disposed of in rubbish bags (which would be in appropriate and may endanger public health), but that most clinics arrange disposal through hospital mortuary services or with local funeral directors.”
This was in response to my quote from John Banks. What happens to the bodies of these babies is dwarfed by what happens to the babies. Obviously, the reason their remains are disposed of through funeral directors and not thrown out with other waste tissue is because everyone knows that a member of the human family has been killed.
You may not have been advised that some clinics have a practice of allowing the woman to take home the remains of their unborn children. Recently a 16 year old girl was given the remains of her 12-week baby which she kept in a friend’s refrigerator until burial. This practice can exacerbate the guilt and trauma women feel after an abortion [This girl turned into a terrible frantic state, and needed counseling]. I quote you,
“...I recently announced a Strategy on Sexual and Reproductive Health. The overall aim of the Strategy is to promote responsible sexual behaviour to minimise unplanned pregnancies and the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/Aids. Another of the aims of the strategy is to reduce the number of abortions.”
If Parliament really wanted to reduce abortions, it could replace the present members of the Abortion Supervisory Committee with people - preferably including a lawyer - who will end the authorisation of ‘pseudo-legal’ abortions. And under section 30 of the Act revoke the appointments of certifying consultants who offer easy abortions because they have extreme pro-abortion views that are “incompatible with the tenor of this Act”.
Presently, abortion is open slather and the committee a joke. It’s annual reports indicate a sloppy abysmal performance, they come before Parliament late, their English is poor, their tables sometimes incorrectly headed and totalled. One would almost think their purpose was to facilitate abortion rather than police a life-and-death piece of legislation.
What actions are taken by the ASC to protect the rights of the unborn child ? I will tell you. They appoint certifying consultants whose views are not strong in one sense or another. In other words its not their job to care about whether abortion is good or bad, or about numbers. Many certifying consultants are also the operating abortionist and so have no consideration about the rights of the unborn. [The Gov. pays them about 13 million per year]. In fact some women testify they have been encouraged by a part of the medical profession to have an abortion. I quote you -
“To help achieve these aims, there are initiatives related to improving access to contraceptive advice, the provision of contraceptives themselves, education in intermediate and secondary schools, and service delivery for high risk groups.”
Firstly, dealing with sex education. It is a simplistic suggestion that abortion rates are high because sex education is low. Today there is not a lack of information about sexuality and the outcomes of intercourse (unprotected or not). It is all about too many people doing too much of what they should abstain from. And this is the fundamental message that most ‘sex education’ programs fail to address. Schools are not required to teach sex education in Wyoming USA and abortion continues to decline. “Teen Pregnancies Higher in States That Teach Condom Use” Washington Times.
Sex education in schools has not been introduced in response to public demand. There has been no parental lobby clamouring for it. The demand came, rather, from a lobby of sexual revolutionaries funded by the government. I believe sinister motives underlie the sex education movement. The material for sex education used today, just a few decades ago would have been considered obscene. Yet it now forms a significant part of many sex education programs designed for schools. Teachers are giving children material and information which 40 years ago was considered obscene [Children who by law would have been protected from such material].
Such programs often present sexual relationships detached from any context of moral norms or ideals of family life. The spread of this kind of sex education has been accompanied by major increases in teenage pregnancy, abortion and STD’s. And in fact, abortion has been promoted in sex education classes as an alternative to pregnancy.
Powerful lobby groups (Like the Family Planning Ass. Sex Education Forum, National Children’s Bureau, Brook Advisory Centres, Terrence Higgins Trust) have campaigned and used the WHO Survey through every means possible to promote more explicit sex/contraceptive education in schools. The FPA is committed to halving teenage pregnancies not by promoting chastity but by giving more explicit sex education to younger and younger children. Any fall in abortions is followed by the FPA boasting of their effective sex education efforts, but the rates never fall anyway.
Children are influenced towards permissiveness by the culture in which they live. Most cultures are centered on the family and so the birth control movement must persuade people that sex and marriage, and sex and childbearing do not necessarily go together. And that extra-marital cohabitation is a viable, even a desirable option. Hence their attack on the family. The family breakdown in NZ is a matter of grave social concern. More broken homes means more crime, abuse of children and teenage abortion.
I recommend to you “Teaching Sex in Schools: Does it work ? by Robert Whelan. He concludes saying there is a “...absence of any firm evidence that sex education programmes are reducing teenage pregnancies and STD’s, perhaps we should even consider calling a cease-fire.” On what model do you base the belief that sex education is the viable answer ? The greatest harm done by today’s school sex education is that all sex courses destroy natural sexual growth. Human beings have three phases of sexual development before adult sexual maturity is reached.
I’m convinced that the only sex education programs in schools that might have any beneficial effect are based on clearly stated goals and values which encourage resistance skills, (i.e. saying “no” to sex). And teach that sex is for the bonding of couples who intend to have children and declare their bond in marriage. This is the truth we discover by reflecting on the body and on the history of civilization. To quote you -
“You make a comment that increasing contraception does not reduce abortions. You may be interested to know that a recent survey in Britain found that there was a rise in the number of abortions (9.5%) in the three months following the reports of concerns about safely linked to the ‘mini-pill’. Such evidence suggests that there is in fact a link.”
This missed my point. The mention of the British survey does not prove that more contraception results in these less abortion. I might equally suggest that the survey indicates that in Britain there is easy access to abortion and it is built into a contraceptive culture. Abortion is regarded as a means of birth-control, a back-up to contraception. It appears in Britain there are a lot of people doing what leads to procreation, but they don’t want babies. And the Ministers of Health and Social Welfare don’t want them to have babies either, so they provide various methods to frustrate the results.
Your British survey quote is from a contraceptive lobby. There is a complete absence of British research of a serious nature and on a reasonable scale. Indeed, there appears to be a curious unwillingness amongst British researchers to address such subjects. The most extensive survey ever carried out in Britain (pub.1994) had an absence of data which reduced British researchers to look overseas. The British Medical Journal came to the conclusion that British studies - surveys - health interventions are not evaluated. “Of those that are, fewer than one in five meet the minimum criteria for methodologically sound evaluation...”
Much of the academic work depends on the background and perspectives of those carrying it out. For example, in 1991 a report was pub. by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists endorsing birth control and sex education to the young. However, only four of the report’s 11 authors were fellows of the college, the others represented organisations actively and commercially involved with the provision of birth control and sex education. The report’s conclusions, under the circumstances, were hardly surprising.
In the history of NZ, there has never been a time when contraceptives are more readily available than today, yet abortion levels have never been so high. The evidence is that the greater availability of contraception, the greater increase in abortions. It is interesting that the Japanese Health Dept. has given permission for the sale and production of the contraceptive pill that it “...may revive men’s interest in sex and lead to an increase in the birth-rate”. But not a very wise move because oral contraception can not only pose a threat to a women’s health but cause abortions.
We are fooling ourselves if we think a technological fix is going to get rid of our dilemma of high rates of pregnancy and abortion. And even if we talk about cost effectiveness of the pill as one article did in the American Journal of Public Health, we find the article filled with words like, “speculative, was assumed, we estimated, model, is likely, data...incomplete, expected to occur”, etc. It might well be cheaper to kill the unwanted baby than for the government to pick-up the burden of an unwanted child, but it is not the answer to the problem [It is those who use sex in a contradictory and fundamentally irresponsible way].
On the one hand Minister, you are saying it is okay to say “no”, but on the other you are saying let’s make condoms more available. If we place in the hands of young people contraceptives, we effectively say to them, “this is for you make use of it”. And they will because the impression they receive is “If they are teaching it to us in school, then they are telling us to go ahead and have sex - for what other reason are they giving out free condoms ?” They view the authorities as providing and funding the means for casual sex. Even so, many will not like using pills and contraceptives, others won’t care to use them, others ambivalent, while others find that they fail.
Michael Fumento in his book makes an interesting point,
“The foisting of condoms on children, the effort to accustom them to their use, the treatment of condoms generally that bordered on the Roman worship of Phallures, is difficult to construe as anything less than decadent. One need not be a certified moralist, a conservative, or a Christian to be horrified at what the condomites passed off as responsible behaviour in time of crisis”.