Today (19 September 2019) is the LAST day for Kiwis to make a submission regarding the Abortion Legislation Bill currently undergoing Select Committee review. Please consider writing your own submission here — it’s free, you can even just say one sentence, and it’s a great way to be involved in the discussion of what’s literally a life-and-death issue.
Cheryl and I both know and sympathise with the difficulties women (and men) on both sides of the debate face. Our differences centre around balancing care for pregnant women, yet disagreeing on the status and of, and duty of care for the young life inside her.
Our submission is below. We tried not to restate what others have already done so well, but rather just shared some of our personal concerns. I hope it’s a helpful contribution to the discussion.
|Select committee:||Abortion Legislation Committee|
|Item of business:||Abortion Legislation Bill 2019|
Concerns about the proposed Bill
Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission.
My wife, Cheryl, and I, do not support the proposed Bill for several reasons:
- Removing abortion from the Crimes Act fails to uphold the human rights of the unborn child and protect her or him from harm, whether they are 7 weeks old or 37 weeks old.
- The proposed Bill restricts the ability for healthcare professionals to meaningfully express their conscientious objection to performing or providing assistance for women seeking abortion services
- No provision is made to protect the unborn child from a coerced abortion, or being the victim of sex-selective or disability-specific abortion.
We agree in substance with the detailed submissions from Family First NZ, ProLife NZ and Voice for Life NZ regarding the harm this Bill will enable, and urge Members of Parliament to vote against this Bill.
Finally, I have attached an ultrasound scan of our unborn child at 7 weeks old. Despite his or her small size and stage of development, she or he has a steady fetal heart beat (147bpm), a unique DNA, and all the characteristics of a person. As we seek ways to better support women, it is also children like ours whom we wish to protect from harm.
A well-known Māori proverb states:
He aha te mea nui o te ao. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.
(What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people , it is people.)
In light of this:
- We suggest keeping abortion under the Crimes Act, to reflect the reality that abortion involves the killing of an unborn child
- We suggest adding a clause to the Bill that women seeking an abortion be first offered a free ultrasound to confirm the presence of the unborn child, and counselling services to allow the mother time for reflection in order to make an informed choice
- We suggest adding a clause to the Bill that, once a fetal heart rate is detectable, any decision regarding offering abortion services must take into account the human rights of the unborn child
- We suggest the Government take urgent steps to make open or closed adoption more available for pregnant women who are unable to raise their child, including an national adoption register that makes it easier for mothers to find a long-term caregiver for their unborn child
- We suggest that increased Government assistance and funding be offered to mothers who choose to keep their child and deliver them.
William and Cheryl Chong