WELLINGTON, New Zealand, August 13, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — A bill that would legalize abortion on demand up to birth in New Zealand passed its first reading last week. Local pro-lifers are urging New Zealanders who are concerned about the bill and its ramifications to voice to the government their opposition.
The Abortion Legislation Act 2019 passed its first reading last Thursday in a landslide parliamentary vote of 94 to 23. The vote took place just three days after the proposed extreme law was introduced.
In addition to legalizing abortion on demand up to birth with very few restrictions, the proposed legislation would remove abortion from the Crimes Act. Currently, limited protection is offered to pre-born children, giving specific circumstances when an abortion can be obtained.
Pro-life witness and free speech would also be banned around abortion facilities with the introduction of “safe areas.”
Members of the public have less than six weeks to share their views through the submission process.
Submissions must be received by the newly formed Abortion Legislation Committee by Thursday, September 19. The NZ Parliament website provides the most efficient way for critics to raise concerns.
The Abortion Legislation Committee is headed by the Honourable Ruth Dyson. Just two of the seven committee members voted against the bill, Agnes Loheni and Anahila Kanongata’a-Suisuiki, raising concerns about how impartial the submission process will be.
After the Committee receives the public’s views, a report will be presented and a second reading and vote will take place. If the Bill passes the second vote, a debate on the bill will occur and amendments can be put forward. Finally, a third reading occurs at which point the fate of the Bill is decided. If it passes, royal assent is granted and the Bill becomes law.
It is widely believed that the incumbent Labour government wishes to finalize the law prior to Christmas, as 2020 is an election year.
The vote in favor of the bill last week followed a series of ideologically driven parliamentary speeches.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern infused the debate with the work of pro-abortion advocates both inside and outside Parliament.
Acknowledging her own religious upbringing, Ardern directed a comment to people of faith who oppose abortion. “I will defend always your right to hold that view,” she said, adding, “but I will draw a line when holding that view then impedes on the rights of others.”
Just a few politicians spoke in defense of human life before birth. The strongest and most eloquent speech came from Simon O’Connor who has stood firm in his defence of human life from its beginning to its end.
O’Connor proclaimed that human rights are for all. “They’re for mums and they’re for babies,” he said, “and where rights start to occur for some and not for others, we no longer have human rights.”
He pointed out that “the sad irony of this debate is those that proclaim their love of human rights are actively seeking to remove it from some.”
Finishing with a statement of hope, Mr. O’Connor said that “that which is right will always win. For the light will never be extinguished. And history shows that just when those who promote and celebrate death think they’ve won, life triumphs.”
With more than 13,000 induced abortions reported in New Zealand each year, approximately one in five pregnancies end in this way.
Submissions can be made online at Parliament.nz and must be received by Thursday, September 19.