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Pro-choice responses to Chadwick’s Abortion Bill

Written By: - Date published: 9:47 pm, July 5th, 2010 - 155 comments
Categories: abortion, activism, blogs, feminism, history, Left, news, Parliament - Tags:

Been a bit disappointed that there hasn’t been a post up here yet on the news out on Saturday that Steve Chadwick is seeking support for a Member’s Bill to make abortion truly on demand in NZ, to 24 weeks.  Then I remembered that I still have posting rights from doing the 2008 General Election live blogging, and that lprent said I was welcome back anytime, so…

At the blog I live at, The Hand Mirror, we will be writing a lot about this topic over the coming months, as we have in the past, particularly from Maia who has a massive breadth and depth of knowledge about abortion law reform in Aotearoa NZ’s history.

The current law does not provide abortion on demand, although many like to paint it that way.  It requires any woman seeking an abortion to get the permission of two certifying consultants before she can go ahead.  Permission is largely based on the grounds that the consultants agree continuing the pregnancy is a threat to the woman’s health (mental and/or physical). The current law therefore does not allow women the right to choose, as they are reliant on the sign-off of two other people, and severely fetters access even further by determining that she must need the abortion for certain reasons.   That is not what a pro-choice abortion law would look like.  And it’s been that way for over 30 years.

The Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ (ALRANZ) has some great backgrounders and should be your first port of call if you are looking for info on the history of it all, while the Abortion Services website is a very straight-up guide to the what, how and where of terminations in Aotearoa.

The posts below are all pro-choice, imho.  I am pro-choice and I believe strongly that that is the progressive and left-wing approach – to respect a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.  I wrote about that at more length here awhile back, when abortion law reform was last heavily in the media and I was approached by the estimable Standardistas for a guest post.  I’m hoping regular writers here will be keen to write awesome pro-choice stuff as the debate continues over coming months.

So here goes with the round-up (grouped by blog):

The Hand Mirror
Deborah outlines Chadwick’s proposal and some ways to let MPs know you support it
Maia on the lies told about abortion law reform and why Chadwick’s bill must not be overcome by the icky response.  Cross-posted at Capitalism Bad; Tree Pretty too.

In A Strange Land
Deborah considers the privilege of being able to not think about abortion.

No Right Turn
Idiot Savant thinks the people and the Parliament will pick choice if it ends up going to a vote.

Letters from Wetville
Sandra contributes a very thoughtful post looking at the issue through the prisms of grace and agency.

Ideologically Impure
Queen of Thorns has a characteristically muscular post and brings the snark big time.

Kiwiblog
David Farrar reckons we have abortion on demand now, by default, and should therefore change the law to reflect that.  (He may be wrong about the first bit, but he’s right about the second!)

Hopefully there will be more to come!

Apologies to anyone I have missed, perhaps you can add your link in comments? Didn’t notice any posts on the matter yet on the MP blogs (frogblog for the Greens, Red Alert for Labour)…

PS  Hope this doesn’t get too trolly for your modding lprent!

155 comments on “Pro-choice responses to Chadwick’s Abortion Bill”

  1. kriswgtn 1

    I agree with you.It is a Womens right to make the choice.
    We have to respect the Womens right to choose.

    No man should be able to debate and pass a law making it not

    It seems NZ is going backwards to a dark place in regards to peoples rights and since the media dont report on alot,most kiwis have to rely on tvnz and tv3

    scarey isnt it

    What will be next?

    Knock back Prosititution Law Reform,Homosexual Law reform??

    Enough IS Enough

  2. Somehow I think that first comment is an attempt to derail in the direction of men’s rights to hold an opinion on abortion. Here’s hoping y’all don’t go down that rathole…

    • kriswgtn 2.1

      It is my opinion and I am entitled to voice how I feel

      • Craig Glen Eden 2.1.1

        So its your opinion and you feel strongly about it and that therefore gives you the right to exclude some one else from the debate based on their sex? I hate sexism and have fought for years to address this issue on behalf of woman.
        As a man a posting like what you have made above does not help get support, infact they do the opposite.
        Come on krisgtn I usually love your posts but you are forming a position that isolates and divides. Also their are situations when it is not only a woman’s choice. Others have also been in situations that give them a insight and emotional perspective that others will never experience. This issue is not a woman’s choice issue but an issue that society needs to resolve.
        Do you really think that discrimination against woman is a woman only issue, I urge you to stop and think about that for a moment. The truth is it effects woman children partners ( male or female) so does abortion.

      • Julie 2.1.2

        Yes you certainly are entitled to that voice and that opinion, I just didn’t want the thread to end up being a discussion about whether or not men were entitled to a voice or an opinion on abortion. Which it hasn’t, so that’s fine by me.

        For the record, I think anyone is entitled to an opinion on abortion. Personally I tend to give more weight to the opinions of those who could actually face an unwanted pregnancy directly, i.e. women. It will be interesting to see how the debate unfolds, given that most of the pro-life groups have male spokespeople and there are still more men than women in our Parliament.

  3. Tigger 3

    Our PM has an opinion on everything so strange to hear him not answer a question about it – clearly no one has focus grouped this for him yet.

    And big props to Steve for this – it’s a thorny issue but I think this could separate the wheat from the chaff with many of our MPs and the debatee around it could become defining moments for many up and comers and down and goers. Nothing, apart from homosexuality perhaps, galvanises the gut like abortion.

    • “Our PM has an opinion on everything so strange to hear him not answer a question about it clearly no one has focus grouped this for him yet.”

      I’d say he’s fairly relaxed about it.

  4. Sandra 4

    Thanks for the linkage Julie. Conspicuous silence on the topic in this morning’s political discussion with Kathryn Ryan (unless I missed it wiping snotty junior noses).

  5. Quoth the Raven 5

    Well good luck to Chadwick and the bill. Although one wonders why Labour didn’t move on this in their nine years of power.

    Piece in the guardian – Human foetus feels no pain before 24 weeks, study says I didn’t even know it was only 20 weeks here.

  6. Descendant Of Smith 6

    I’ve long argued with anti-abortionists that if they wish to make a real difference in abortion rates then they need to change society in a positive way to ensure that women feel that they have other choices – e.g. place a real value on families, consider raising children as important and ensure that women are supported in this choice. Ensure incomes are sufficient that someone can raise a family on one income and provide support when it’s needed – support without guilt.

    It’s sad that women have to be deemed mentally unwell for this procedure to be carried out and is simply another way of punishing the woman making this choice.

    It’s a ridiculous situation that needs to be fixed and I would hope that Labour make a clear statement supporting this change.

  7. QoT 7

    Awesome round-up, Julie! I’m hoping we can hit some kind of pan-blog-ideology trifecta (QoT’s Law: if The Hand Mirror collective, Cactus Kate, lprent and DPF agree on something it’s probably true).

    • lprent 7.1

      Oh I agree. The arguments I had about this were in the late 70’s and I haven’t seen any reason to move. I still find abortion distasteful and wish that contraception was more reliable – I managed to get conceived despite the careful use of condoms.

      But that doesn’t mean that we should have the current travesty of the law on abortion. About the only good thing you can say about it is that most abortions these days take place in controlled conditions.

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Condoms are actually pretty useless as far as contraceptives go.

        • Julie 7.1.1.1

          Still better than the rhythm method though.

        • lprent 7.1.1.2

          I’ve come to that conclusion. Problem is that every form of contraception has issues in one form or another. Looks to me that since I got my early training in the subject in the early 70’s (for some reason my mother did volunteer work at Family Planning) that hasn’t changed much.

          • Lanthanide 7.1.1.2.1

            IUD are pretty reliable from what I understand.

            • Trouble 7.1.1.2.1.1

              I’ve heard that it’s pretty hard to get fitted with them until after you’ve had all the children you want. Doctors are reluctant for some obscure medical reason.

          • burt 7.1.1.2.2

            Stuff all changes over time with regard to that situation lprent. Every generation thinks it’s the first to be rampantly promiscuous, thinks their parents and grandparents were prudes. We have a lot to learn when we are young dumb and full of cum.

            Family planning clinics aside, Although I strongly support this bill I’m torn about the extension of time for terminations. Not so much because of it being extended per-sae but because it makes me confront the concept that we will still have a law determining a point of no return in a woman’s ‘clinical’ control over her pregnancy. The arguments for and against this bill on the extension of time could easily derail the other more practical features of this bill. That concerns me.

    • Cactus Kate 7.2

      Always in favour of abortion. Especially as a viable alternative to the DPB.

      • Bored 7.2.1

        Bloody hell! Common ground. Cant say I would deny DPB to women who go through birth because of their own beliefs though. And I dont really believe in that “career DPB” shibboleth, its a bit like bennie bashing. Having raised children DPB sounds like piss poor money for 24x7x365x16 with all the attendant grief.

  8. ianmac 8

    If the Bill has to concede anything it might be to forgo the 24 week limit given that I read somewhere that most abortions happen long before 20 weeks. But all in favour of right to choose.

  9. millsy 9

    Perhaps if supporters of the bill emphasised the dent that abortion on demand will make in the DPB bill, they might be able to win a large part of the right on this one.

    I see the happy clappers are mobilising already. Nothing makes an old sweaty god botherer get off more than telling a young woman that she should not be terminating her pregnancy.

  10. big bruv 10

    I am not a huge fan of abortion, I can however deal with abortions being performed up to the twelve week mark.

    But, Chadwick’s bill to allow abortion on demand up until the 24 weeks is nothing short of murder.

    • luva 10.1

      I agree BB

      The first time I connected with my child was when I saw her bouncing around at the 20 week scan. You can throw all the science in the world at me about how that baby had no feeling, but as far as I am concened that was a living being and it’s right to life is worth protecting.

      I am no christian fundamentalist that is going to stand outside clinics threatening doctors and patients so in that respect I am not anti abortion. However from a personal perspective after seeing that bouncing image in the scan develop into my beautiful daughter I find termination abhorant.

      I won’t stand in the way of any woman that wants to terminate her baby but if I had a vote on this bill I would be on the pro life side.

      • QoT 10.1.1

        I won’t stand in the way of any woman that wants to terminate her baby but if I had a vote on this bill I would be on the pro life side.

        That’s some wonderful cognitive dissonance you’ve got going on there, luva. You won’t stand in anyone’s way – that would involve actually being honest about your actions – but you’d happily sit in a secured building pretending it’s an intellectual exercise and try to stop women having the choice you don’t want them to have.

        • big bruv 10.1.1.1

          Why use the argument that it is a woman’s right to choose, is that because you cannot bring yourself to say what it really is, namely, a woman’s right to murder?

          For me this is not about religion (I have no time for the bible bashers) it is about what is right and what is evil, killing a baby after twelve weeks is about the most evil thing that I can think of.

          Abortions after the twelve week mark should be near impossible to obtain and if granted only in the most extreme circumstances.

          • Lew 10.1.1.1.1

            Why 12 weeks, BB?

            L

            • big bruv 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Because there must be a cut off point Lew, if not then one could say “why not eight months”?

              • Lew

                But why this arbitrary 12 week point? Why not the limit of viability?

                Is there a good, articulable reason for that preference, or is it just an “I reckon”?

                L

                • big bruv

                  Lew

                  It strikes me that once again you are supporting this simply because it is being proposed by a Labour party MP and as such you will twist yourself into a knot to support Chadwick.

                  At twelve weeks the child cannot survive outside the mothers womb, at 24 weeks there is a chance that it might.

                  There must be a cut off point, twelve weeks seems like the best of a bad bunch of options (certainly bad if for the poor child being murdered)

                  Like others I do wonder why Chadwick did not put this up during the last term of the Labour government.

                  • Lew

                    BB, to accuse me of all people of blindly supporting Labour party policy is hilarious. And it’s bollocks, too — I’ve been arguing this for years. I did so at very great length on the previous epic Standard thread about this time in 2008.

                    You could save us both a lot of time in this debate by reading that thread. My position hasn't really changed since then, because the pro-lifers of various sorts have presented no actual evidence to support their positions other than their beliefs and "I reckons" such as yours. As interesting as those are, and as much right as people have to hold and express them, they're no basis for policy.

                    L

                  • felix

                    I suggest setting the cut off at the same amount of weeks it takes for Big Bludge to pay his gambling debts.

                    It’s no more or less arbitrary than most of the other suggestions in this thread aside from that of Trouble, below.

                    And Lew, stop blindly supporting Labour. People are starting to talk.

                  • BLiP

                    Like others I wonder why you haven’t paid your debt.

          • Tigger 10.1.1.1.2

            Bringing good and evil into it is the surest way to fanatacise the conversation. Your 12 week period appears to be nothing than your own belief that at that point a foetus becomes a ‘person’ (and is therefore capable of being murdered). The 24 week cut off is currently supported by science and indeed practice in many other comprable jurisdictions.

            But I’m glad to hear that you can ‘deal with abortions’ in certain circumstances. The women of the world will throw you a parade in your honour to celebrate…

          • QoT 10.1.1.1.3

            You win, bruv. I do, in fact, fully support the right of all humans to defend themselves, with fatal consequences if necessary, against anyone who demands the use of their body against their will, be they rapist, organ-harvester or foetus.

            Next?

        • luva 10.1.1.2

          QoT

          I concede I am tying myself in knots here. Especially considering my core belief is choice. For example I have no idea why a hard up student has no choice when they attend university but to part with the little cash they have and join a student union.

          I believe in choice.

          I suppose my position here is if I had total power of persuasion and could convince everyone to follow me you know where I would lead them on this issue.

          • QoT 10.1.1.2.1

            You believe in choice … but like fantasizing about being able to make everyone do what you want. Okay. *backs away slowly*

    • lprent 10.2

      From my perspective, one of the major problems with the current Act is that it takes a lot of time to go through the procedures.

      Most woman don’t even realize that they are pregnant for quite a number of weeks. Many have rather erratic periods under normal circumstances. I know of a number that haven’t realized that they are pregnant until months after conception.

      It then takes a lot of time to go through the sessions and the demeaning experience of people sitting on judgment about your mental stability. I suspect that many if not most abortions currently at or later than 12 weeks simply because the current law is so punitively cumbersome and slow.

      So I suspect that unless you want to go straight for abortion on demand without counseling and time to make a decision that your timetable is simply unrealistically short. Personally I wouldn’t be in favor of not having the counseling. I’ve seen a number of woman decide not to abort after having the options laid out for them.

    • Lew 10.3

      At 12 weeks gestation the child cannot live outside its mother. Therefore, by any useful definition, it is a part of its mother. At a point after which a child can live outside its mother (assuming the best medical care and a fair dose of luck, etc.) then you have a logical argument. That point, not coincidentally, is 24 weeks. Draw the line in the sand any time before that point and it’s just an arbitrary “I reckon”.

      L

      • luva 10.3.1

        Lew

        I don’t really buy into that distiction

        A baby at 12 weeks gestation cannot live outside its mother. Agreed.

        A baby born at 40 weeks gestation wouldn’t last for too long by itself either. It still cannot live outside its mother without a hell of a lot of support.

        That is what I cannot get my head around. I see no difference between 12 weeks, 24 weeks and 40 weeks. At every stage the baby needs thire mother or another person to live whether its inside or out.

        I don’t support termination. But if you do support abortion what is the key difference between a baby 24 weeks gestation and baby 32 weeks gestation?

        • Lew 10.3.1.1

          Why on earth would you equate “its mother or another person” in this case? The distinction I make is about the point where the baby can reliably survive without its mother, in the care of someone else as necessary. It’s not as if I’m suggesting that any baby can survive on its own.

          A baby at less than 24 weeks gestation cannot (reliably) survive with any amount of support. The baby needs its own mother. Nobody else can take that role, even if they want to. If babies born this early do survive, it’s more often by good fortune than by good management, even with the best possible medical care.

          At 24 weeks it’s 50/50 with the very best specialist care, and even if the baby survives there’s a very high chance of severe health problems. Nothing medical science or the world’s best intentions can do about that at present (though the line is gradually shifting).

          A baby at 32 weeks has a better than 90% chance of survival, again given the best possible care.

          A baby at full-term has a survival rate well in excess of 99%.

          If you see no difference between these cases, then there’s simply no helping you.

          L

          • query 10.3.1.1.1

            “A baby at 32 weeks has a better than 90% chance of survival, again given the best possible care.

            A baby at full-term has a survival rate well in excess of 99%.”

            Both pretty much indisputable facts – so when the full term survival rate is so high I find that I can’t support abortion on demand, certainly I can support abortion when it’s justified from a medical/psychiatric perspective but to open it up to “on demand” in my opinion opens up a can of worms and unexpected consequences such as occured during China’s one child policy.

            • Lew 10.3.1.1.1.1

              Ok. Are you going to carry the baby, then?

              L

              • query

                So your position is only persons having an abortion can have an opinion on abortion.

                That’s a bit absurd if you ask me.

                • Lew

                  No, that’s not my position. Anyone can have an opinion on it, and probably everyone should. It’s the conversion of opinions into policy which I object to.

                  But until the person with the opinion can (and unless they will) put their actions where their opinion is and look after the baby themselves, it ought to stay just that: an opinion.

                  Exception: the parents. Fathers have some rights in this process, even though they can’t take over from the mother. But the ultimate responsibility in those early stages must rest with the only person who can actually look after the baby.

                  L

                  • query

                    Policy is almost always influenced by opinion

                    • Lew

                      Of course it is. But it shouldn’t be based on opinion, it should be based on evidence and reason. Don’t you think?

                      L

                    • Julie

                      But the policy can be to respect the opinions of individuals, and that’s what Chadwick’s Bill would do. To quote a line I used in my guest post here on this issue ages ago “If you’re against abortion then kindly don’t have one”.

            • Julie 10.3.1.1.1.2

              You’re only thinking about the fetus/baby here, nothing at all about the mother. We’re not just incubators you know.

              • query

                Um no – what I’m saying is I do not support open slather abortion on demand.

                I could just as easily say you’re only thinking about the incubator here – would that be a reasonable thing to say ?

                • Lew

                  I could just as easily say you’re only thinking about the incubator here would that be a reasonable thing to say ?

                  WTF?

                  L

                  • Julie

                    ZOMG. Although this incubator is not entirely surprised.

                    query, what you appear to me to be saying is that you do not agree that the mother, the incubator, the person who actually has to be pregnant and then give birth and then is highly likely to be the primary caregiver at least in the short term, should not have a say in whether she gets to be pregnant or not. You have so highly privileged the fetus/baby that you seem to be incapable of considering that there is an actual living person carrying that fetus/baby. If you consider a fetus a life, from whatever point of gestation, then why don’t you also consider the woman carrying that fetus a life, because the way you are writing about it, it’s as if we don’t exist in our own rights.

                    • query

                      Julie that is not what I am saying at all.

                      Let me restate again my position.

                      “I can’t support abortion on demand, certainly I can support abortion when it’s justified from a medical/psychiatric perspective but to open it up to “on demand’ in my opinion opens up a can of worms and unexpected consequences such as occured during China’s one child policy.”

                      – against my better judgement I decided to post on this topic I’ll now vacate as I should have stuck with my judgement in the first place and kept my opinions to myself.

                    • Lew

                      Yeah. I reckon the view that a woman is an incubator for babies is the sort of opinion which should be kept to oneself; the airing of which might open you up to indignant criticism.

                      L

                    • query

                      Lew that comment was in response to the one above it

                      “ou’re only thinking about the fetus/baby here, nothing at all about the mother. We’re not just incubators you know.”

                      and was highlighting the absurdity of making such statement which are patently false…….. perhaps you should try not to be such a pompous twat.

                      Edit Nick clearly you need to improve your comprehension skills as well… perhaps once you’ve got out of university eh ?

                    • Julie

                      How can it be patently false when you’ve shown no interest whatsoever in the concerns/health/anything of the woman concerned?

                      And these women are real people, almost like men but somehow strangely different… (ok that last bit was an attempt at humour)

                      I’ll say it again – you are putting the potential life of a fetus ahead of the actual life, and brain, and conscience, and decision-making faculties, of a woman. That seems inherently wrong to me.

                    • query

                      Julie for the last time

                      I can support abortion when it’s justified from a medical/psychiatric perspective but to open it up to “on demand’ in my opinion opens up a can of worms and unexpected consequences such as occured during China’s one child policy.’

                      How that squares to your assertion that I have

                      “shown no interest whatsoever in the concerns/health/anything of the woman concerned?”

                      and

                      “are putting the potential life of a fetus ahead of the actual life, and brain, and conscience, and decision-making faculties, of a woman”

                      is beyond my ken.

                    • Lew

                      query, there is no incubator. That’s what makes your response so damfoolish. Perhaps that’s not what you actually think, but if that’s so you’ve done a spectacularly poor job of getting the message across.

                      L

                    • NickS

                      @ query

                      Edit Nick clearly you need to improve your comprehension skills as well perhaps once you’ve got out of university eh ?

                      Fail rebuttal is fail*, for above me Julie and Lew have already dealt with your attempt to counter by arguing that we’re misreading you.

                      Also:

                      I can support abortion when it’s justified from a medical/psychiatric perspective but to open it up to “on demand’ in my opinion opens up a can of worms and unexpected consequences such as occured during China’s one child policy.’

                      Problem; the cultural mix in NZ doesn’t value male children over female children, and cultural aspects make choosing to have an abortion quite a hard choice per the experiences revealed in this thread and others. Nor is this bill forcing anyone to have an abortion, rather what it does is remove outmoded restrictions that treat women as incapable of making their own decision on whether or not to have an abortion. Thus I feel obliged to ask you to elaborate with backing evidence to show to us the plausibility of the scenarios you claim will happen if abortion becomes “on demand” in NZ. Because at present, I’m calling bullshit on your concerns, and that’s despite me being a misanthropic humanist.

                      Of course, it would also help if the pathetic access to abortion services in rural NZ was rectified with a swift legislative cluebat to the douchbags in the DHB’s that are forcing women to travel long distances.

                      _______________
                      *blame the internet, also I can read, understand and use philosophy of science stuff when I’ve been worse than what I am at present (i.e. moderately depressed vs mildly depressed).

                • NickS

                  I could just as easily say you’re only thinking about the incubator here would that be a reasonable thing to say ?

                  Get back to fucking talkback radio/kiwiblog, I’m sure they’ll enjoy your brain dead rhetoric, particularly the whole patriarchal dehumanisation of women (and likely others that don’t fit teh almighty cis-male gender stereotype) and strawman bullshit.

                  Also, what makes you think you have a right to decide what some else does to their body? In particularly what gives you the right to decide that a person has no right to deal with a condition that incurs a large personal and economic cost (with numerous benefits though) as well as can kill them?

                  In short, please stop trying to colonise uteruses that are not contained within your own body.

      • burt 10.3.2

        Lew

        Totally agree, just arguing over who’s ‘I reckon’ is right. Ridiculous debate.

    • Jum 10.4

      And should you ever have one come back and tell me how it went.

  11. lprent 11

    Julie you’re always welcome to write here. That is why the login is there.

    I was thinking about writing a post on the subject. But these days I don’t have much idea how the law is working. The 1977 law was just farcical and needs to be brought up to the reality that it didn’t have in 1977 let alone in 2010. Knowing Steve, her bill will be sensible and straight forward. But I haven’t read it yet.

    • Julie 11.1

      Thanks lprent, much appreciated. I felt a bit sneaky doing it without asking, but I also thought you would probably enjoy dealing to the (sadly inevitable) trolling 😉

      • big bruv 11.1.1

        So anybody who disagrees with your stance on child murder is a troll?

        Afraid of the debate are you Julie?

        • Lew 11.1.1.1

          Why on earth would she be afraid of the debate when hers is the only side which can actually bring any evidence to support their contentions?

          L

          • big bruv 11.1.1.1.1

            “a woman’s right to choose” is evidence?

            • Lew 11.1.1.1.1.1

              You’d have a good point if that was the extent of the pro-choice argument. Unfortunately for you, it’s not. You still haven’t justified your arbitrary choice of 12 weeks as a cutover line. Any time you feel like doing so with anything other than “I reckons”, we’ll be waiting. That’d be a start. But not an end.

              L

              • big bruv

                Lew

                I have justified my choice of twelve weeks based on the babies inability to survive, in some ways I am not sure why I felt I had to do so as I do not have to justify why I feel this way to you or anybody else.

                Nobody gave you the divine right to set the parameters of this debate, those people who have a ‘I reckon’ approach to the issue of abortion have as much right to have their say as those who rely on spurious information put forward by those who think that woman have the right to murder babies at any stage during their pregnancy simply because they cannot be bothered with it any longer.

                • Lew

                  Ok. But a baby can no more survive at 18 weeks gestation than at 12. And only marginally more at 20. So why not those points instead?

                  Of course you have the right to an opinion, no matter how poorly-founded, and everyone has a right to vote on the basis of their dubious beliefs. But don’t you agree that policy ought to be based on evidence rather than feelings? If not, why not?

                  L

                  • big bruv

                    So are you saying that you believe the cut off point should be eighteen to twenty weeks?

                    • Lew

                      No, I’ve already said that the cutoff should be the limit of viability, presently about 24 weeks, because that’s what gives a baby an even chance of survival.

                      Now, what’s the basis for your 12 week line again? And why not 18 weeks, where there’s an identical chance of survival (nil)? I could understand an argument from you for 20 or 22 weeks, because at that point there is a (very slight) chance of viability. In my view it would be a poorly-justified position, but justified by some evidence nonetheless. Twelve weeks is simply not justified at all. It’s not an argument from evidence, it’s just an empty opinion.

                      L

                    • big bruv

                      How interesting, that your cut off point just happens to be the same as that proposed by Chadwick.

                      Twelve weeks can easily be justified, at that point the baby moves into the foetal development stage.

                      It is also interesting that you do not apply the same “empty opinion’ criteria to those who think the argument is all about a woman’s right to choose (murder) you allow them to put forward an emotional debate yet seek to deny others that same right.

                    • Lew

                      It’s the same as that proposed by Chadwick because her proposal is based on the fucking medical evidence.

                      L

                    • big bruv

                      Rubbish, even you have admitted that a baby CAN survive at 20 weeks, that being the case, Chadwick is pushing for state sanctioned murder.

                      As I said before, I do find it fascinating that Chadwick never raised this issue when Labour were in power, why do you suppose that is Lew?

                      And if Labour are in favour of murdering innocent babies, why do they have a problem with bringing back the death penalty for scum like Burton, Bell and co?

                    • Lew

                      BB, a baby has virtually no chance of surviving at 20 weeks, and if it does, will have considerable health problems. This is not a political or iodeological judgement, it’s a medical judgement. It’s cold, hard reality. If you have a problem with it, take it up with the institutions of medical science. Good luck with that.

                      The rest of your comment is irrelevant misdirection away from the fact that you haven’t actually got a case which extends beyond “I reckon”. You’re free to reckion what you like — the rest of us are free to not base policy on it.

                      L

                    • Trouble

                      The fetal stage begins at 9 weeks after fertilisation, or at 11 weeks gestational age. The miscarriage rate drops after 12 weeks to the point at which many parents announce the news then.

                      Bruv, you’re entitled to any “just because” reasons you feel like, but if you want anyone else to agree with those reasons, let alone change the law so other people have to go along with those reasons, then you have to do better.

                      Viability is one possible dividing line, but practically speaking, the baby still needs to be cared for after it’s born. Are there many adopting couples lining up to adopt the 50% of babies born at 24 weeks who survive, potentially with long term health issues?

                    • big bruv

                      Let’s leave aside the issue of the first 12-20 weeks here for a moment (I want to spare you the embarrassment of making a bigger fool of yourself)

                      Say the government did settle on allowing babies to be murdered up to twenty weeks, what would be the criteria for abortions after that date?

                      I suspect this (as with so much of Labour social engineering policy) is simply opening the door for the debate about late term, on demand abortions.

                    • Lew

                      Ok, present whatever evidence you have for that proposition, and see if you can convince anyone who’s not already a confirmed Labour-hater.

                      L

                    • big bruv

                      70% of the country are Labour haters Lew, not sure you want to open that door.

                      The question I asked you was “Say the government did settle on allowing babies to be murdered up to twenty weeks, what would be the criteria for abortions after that date?”

                      Care to answer that?

                    • Lew

                      BB, I can’t answer that question. It’s a bit pointless to ask me my opinion on it as well, since it’s my opinion, stated clearly and repeatedly, that abortions should be permitted until the limit of viability, which is later than 20 weeks. Not to mention that Chadwick’s own proposal isn’t for 20 weeks either.

                      L

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      That’s easy Lew (11:38 comment).

                      Women deciding: social engineering

                      Govt deciding for them: Not social engineering

                    • Lew

                      Thanks Bookie, that makes it much clearer. Now I understand why they should take their shoes off and just get back in the fucking kitchen.

                      L

                • felix

                  Wow, all this time I thought you were just playing dumb, but you really don’t know the difference between a contention and a justification, do you Big Bludge?

                  No wonder you can’t figure out how a wager works.

            • felix 11.1.1.1.1.2

              That comment proves that you haven’t read the thread you’re commenting on, Bludge.

              Not a good look when you’re trying to throw off your troll cloak (which you amusingly just put on all by yourself I might add).

              BTW, you still haven’t paid your debt.

        • Julie 11.1.1.2

          Did I say anyone who disagrees with me is a troll? Nope. I’m not a moderator here, just a v occasional guest poster. It’s up to lprent et al to determine what is trolling to them and what not. In my experience they are not backward in coming forward to let people know.

          As for the murder thing, I think you’re trying to change the argument because Lew’s got you on the ropes with the 12 week issue. You’ve given no reason for your completely arbitrary 12 week line. At least be consistent in your ridiculousness. What magical thing happens on Day 85?

      • lprent 11.1.2

        Hah! Cheap sneaky thrill. You had to know we’d be happy for you to put material like this post up.

        Also feel free to cross-post as well with posts like Maia’s (just get the authors explicit permission first). We put them in as “The Standard” if they’re not an author here with a paragraph at the top in italics giving the link back to the original site. I’m sure that other authors will eventually get around to offering opinions as well. But probably like me, they have rust sitting on their opinions on this topic.

        Generally we don’t get much trolling these days (as I define it). People either debate with their various viewpoints, or they run into my rough sarcastic justice, or Irish’s even more abrupt version. If they’re lucky they get a warning from the other nicer moderators and heed it. You can see that with the debate so far on this post.

  12. query 12

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/browse_for_stats/health/abortion/abortion-trends.aspx

    The Crimes Act 1961 outlines the strict conditions in which an abortion may be performed when a pregnancy is over 20 weeks’ gestation. The abortion must be performed to save the woman’s life, or prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health (Crimes Act 1961). The percentage of abortions performed at over 20 weeks’ gestation has remained between 0.1 percent and 0.5 percent between 1985 and 2007. This reflects the strict criteria and suggests that serious consideration is given to abortions performed over 20 weeks’ gestation.

  13. Trouble 13

    That’s the thing about the 20 week scan, though. Most of the time, we see our future baby’s head and arms and feet and everything looks great. You can even tell by then, usually, if it’s a girl or a boy. But they do that scan for a reason, not just to tell you what colour to paint the bedroom and give you some cool pictures to send the grandparents. They check that the spinal cord has closed, that the heart has all the right chambers, that there aren’t any serious abnormalities. If you find out at week 20 that your baby has no chance of surviving outside the womb, or would have a short painful life full of surgeries, there’s bugger all you can do about it under current law, so long as your own life isn’t at risk. You have to sit and wait for the pregnancy to conclude naturally. Some women would choose this anyway – I don’t know if I would.

    There needs to be a window after that scan to choose appropriate medical treatment. As pregnancy progresses further, the risks to the pregnant woman increase so perhaps a greater degree of medical supervision is appropriate. But the focus on viability doesn’t really reflect how it works in the later stages of pregnancy. If the woman’s health is at risk and the baby is wanted, generally the baby’s live birth is induced early.

    • Rob A 13.1

      Well done Trouble

      When I first heard this I was dead set against being able to abort a child at 24 weeks thinking of my frist child who was born at roughly 26 weeks and except for a couple of heart operations is now 14 years and doing fine.

      But the arguement you’ve made has achieved an internet first……..you’ve changed somebodies mind.

    • Julie 13.2

      Maia has written a post overnight specifically on the 24 weeks issue, including:

      “There is a simple, elegant, solution to all this. Accept that there needs to be a decision maker who balances many different issues, including the stage of pregnancy, but agree that the best person to be that decision maker is the pregnant woman.”

    • prism 13.3

      I have always felt sorry for the woman whose baby was dead inside her, but knowing that she still had to carry it till her body went through the birth procedure.

  14. Hilary 14

    I’ve always been pro-choice and recall vividly all the battles over the last few decades (Wall Bill etc). Women who want terminations will get them, and before it was legal there were thriving back street abortion businesses in every NZ town and city.

    But I am aware that this is a very touchy subject for many disabled people who could have been terminated if the pre-birth diagnostic technology had been available when they were gestating. So as well as a campaign for abortion on request, there has to be a campaign to get proper support and acceptance for disabled children and their families, so termination is not the automatic default option when any foetal impairment is found. And those families aren’t socially ‘punished’ for their choice to have a disabled child (which is already happening anecdotally for some Downs families).

    • Julie 14.1

      I think those two things are compatible Hilary – they are both founded on respect after all.

      With my current pregnancy my partner and I chose not to have the 12 week scan at all as we knew that we would not choose abortion if the scan showed Downs or spina bifida.

      • Trouble 14.1.1

        Congrats, Julie.

        I wondered if having a baby would change my pro-choice views. If anything, it’s strengthened them because I know so much more about how pregnancy works and what can go wrong. I’ve had discussions with pro-lifers who are so blinded by the myth that every conceptus is a perfect miniature baby waiting to be born that they genuinely believe that ectopic pregnancies can be somehow relocated. Or they think that staying pregnant involves no extra burden on the part of the woman.

        It’s possible for men to be nearly as informed about how pregnancy works as the women it personally affects, but not easy. Unless you’re involved, there’s a lot that goes on that you just don’t realise. I suspect this is one reason why they’re overrepresented amongst antiabortion campaigners.

        • Julie 14.1.1.1

          Snap, Trouble – I too thought experiencing pregnancy might change my views, and I was quite nervous about it. But I too have had my pro-choice stanch strengthened by the experience. No woman should have to go through pregnancy if she doesn’t want to.

          That’s not to say that an unplanned pregnancy can’t turn into a wanted one btw. If that’s not too many double negatives for one sentence!

        • Lew 14.1.1.2

          Troubled, I wondered, as well. But it hasn’t, although it has given me a new appreciation for how grave the decision is — which, to me, is all the more reason why those not directly involved need to back right off.

          Baby #2 due in three weeks, and I couldn’t imagine wanting anything else. But I realise that our experience is not everyone’s.

          L

        • A Nonny Moose 14.1.1.3

          Thanks Trouble, I was going to say something on these lines, but you articulated it nicely.

          Even those who are fathers can perpetuate misinformation against abortion, because they haven’t taken the time to fully understand everything involved on the medical side, and the health concerns for mothers. It’s that old ideal of “raising babies is ladies business. You might love your woman, but you’re still perpetuating harm on them by refusing their right to choose what is best for her body and, you know…continuing ability to live.

          Antispam: “volumes”(it speaks)

  15. Todd 15

    Until very recent times I was pro choice.That is until we found our (now) young daughter in law was pregnant (20 weeks)her as she was only 17 her father insisted on an abortion and booked her in to wellington hospital to have it.As he would not go with her my wife and I did but when the time drew near on the day I got very nervous and as luck would have it so did the expectant mother.we all left the hospital and went back home were my grandson was born on week 32.
    It just makes me sick to my stomach when I look at him and realise that I could have had a hand in his murder.

    • I dreamed a dream 15.1

      Good on you Todd!

    • Trouble 15.2

      That’s still being pro-choice. It was the pregnant woman’s choice, not her father’s.

    • Julie 15.3

      The key phrase in your comment Todd is this one:
      “her father insisted on an abortion”

      That’s not respecting a woman’s right to choose. Pro-choice means not only respecting the right to choose abortion but also the right to not choose abortion.

      I’m glad you were able to offer your daughter in law that support. Sounds like her father was a bit of an arse about the whole thing.

    • Lew 15.4

      What an excellent outcome. But this isn’t an argument against choice — it’s an argument against parental control over the reproductive decisions of their adult or near-adult children. Your daughter-in-law had the choice, and made the decision to keep her baby despite pressure from her father. There was no need to constrain her access to an abortion because she made the right decision for herself (with your support). Everyone wins.

      L

  16. Ag 16

    OK, so if bringing a child into the world is solely a woman’s choice, then presumably parental obligations to that child accrue in virtue of the choice. Certainly they do not accrue via the act of conception, for that would make abortions immoral.

    So how do parental obligations for men arise if they do not choose to parent? If you are going to be consistent, then abortion on demand makes forced child maintenance payments immoral. Why is it that some folk claim that parenting should be a choice, but only for women?

    Cue endless double talk from those who can’t live without trying to justify this inconsistency.

    • QoT 16.1

      No double-talk here, Ag, just a very simple point: men’s biological involvement ends at ejaculation, women’s doesn’t. Is that somehow difficult to comprehend?

    • Julie 17.1

      Thanks Dita, there has also been quite a bit of discussion about the 24 weeks issue over at The Hand Mirror, which you may be interested in, particularly the most recent post entitled 24 weeks.

  17. gingercrush 18

    To me the greatest problem in getting any real support for such a bill are the pro-choice people themselves. If it becomes too militant and too ideological how do you expect to get support from the majority of New Zealanders? And why would members of both the Labour and National party who would prefer for such a bill to simply disappear ever support such legislation when those advocating a change in abortion law are doing so from a ideologically and militant position?

    • Julie 18.1

      I take it then that you are not pro-choice gingercrush?

      Personally I consider the anti-abortion position pretty extreme, as it would result in forced pregnancies, unsafe back street abortions, and increases in both maternal and natal death rates.

      • gingercrush 18.1.1

        I’m uneasy about abortion. I do not support the current abortion legislation because its too complicated and too hard for women to decide to have an abortion. But from what I know of Chadwick’s bill. I can’t support it.

        24 weeks just seems a stretch too far personally and as nothing has been mentioned around the provision of counselling etc. I don’t have enough details for me to believe some protections are there to protect women who may not be in a position to make a proper reasoned choice to abort a baby.

        The reason I mention ideology and militant behaviour by pro-choice people is that its the likes of me who you will need to convince for this bill to ever get bi-partisan support (which at a minimum is necessary not fully party support but wide support from both major parties) and to get wider public support.

        • Lew 18.1.1.1

          Same question to you as to BB, then — why is 24 weeks a stretch, given that it’s the medically-agreed definition of viability?

          I think that’s the least-contentious aspect of the whole thing, and if you accept any elective abortions at all, there’s no reason not to accept a 24-week cutover. interested to ehar your reasoning to the contrary.

          L

        • Nikki 18.1.1.2

          I’d like to see the bill before I make a definitive comment but I’d definitely support an option to get counselling in the event of an unplanned pregnancy. I know with my first pregnancy (found out at 16 weeks) I needed an impartial person to help me sort through the voices all over the place telling me to consider my education, my finances, potential fetal alcohol syndrome etc, and to explain a bit more about my options.

          With my second pregnancy, I didn’t feel I needed counselling. I’d thought through the options and made a very clear decision for myself, my daughter, and my partner (at the time).

        • Julie 18.1.1.3

          I too would like to see the Bill, and I’m open-minded about counselling. I don’t think it should be compulsory, but it should definitely be easily accessible and free and of a high quality. But then I tend to think we should have a comprehensive free counselling service that meets those requirements available through the public health system, as part of a positive attitude to maintaining people in good mental health, regardless of anything to do with abortion.

        • Trouble 18.1.1.4

          I don’t have enough details for me to believe some protections are there to protect women who may not be in a position to make a proper reasoned choice to abort a baby

          See, there’s the catch 22. You can’t currently get an abortion unless you say your mental health is at risk. At which point people ask whether you’re capable of making a proper reasoned choice to have an abortion.

          I’m not sure whether this counts as “militant” or not, but I’m deeply insulted, and I suspect a lot of other women would be, by the idea of a law based on the assumption that I’m not competent to make a decision myself. Vasectomies have much longer lasting consequences than abortions – do we have legislative protection in case men later regret their decisions?

          • Julie 18.1.1.4.1

            On the vasectomy issue I have been having similar discussions with men in my office this morning and will be writing a post up at The Hand Mirror on that when I get a chance. Great minds think alike Trouble!

            The woman is still in the best position to make the choice, better than anyone else who cannot know or weigh all the factors that she can. And ultimately, as she is the one who deals with the consequences of that decision it should be hers to make.

        • Kim 18.1.1.5

          What militant behaviour? Do you mean abusing women outside hospitals? Do you mean calling women who have had abortions murderers? Do you mean physically intimidating women who are actively campaigning for abortion reform? I think you’re confused and you mean ‘militant behaviour of anti-choice people’.

          I’d like some proof of this militant behaviour if you’re talking about pro-choice people. But I’m thinking you’ve just made a typo.

      • lprent 18.1.2

        gc will often argue political points without having a particular position himself.

        It is frequently hard to figure out where he stands on a particular issue apart from his default position of being roughly center-right (which as you know is generally where I perceive myself as being on many issues).

        Usually pays to not make assumptions until he opens up a bit… 😈

      • prosaic 18.1.3

        “Personally I consider the anti-abortion position pretty extreme, as it would result in forced pregnancies, unsafe back street abortions, and increases in both maternal and natal death rates.”

        Maybe we should be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that the above factors are the real undesirable outcomes of prohibiting abortion–and stop trying to justify it with “a woman’s right to choose.” No one can rightly choose to kill another ‘person’, be they 38, 3 months or a 30 week gestating baby/fetus. So why do we try to justify pregnant women killing their 8 or 12 week old babies on this basis? Why does being only ‘potentially’ a person mean you can jusitfiably be ‘terminated’ while being a ‘real person’ (a person, baby or fetus older than 24 weeks or whatever) earns you the right not to be killed? Every single person legally has the right to life in our society. Why is an 11 week old fetus denied this right? Perhaps it is the many and various undesirable consequences of keeping unwanted babies which makes us desperate to find some justification for abortion.

        I am not anti-abortion (and yes, they are given on demand)–the consequences of prohibiting it (as Julie states above) are unacceptable but at the same time I can’t seem to come up with an argument, nor have I ever seen or heard one presented, that says why a fetus does not have the right to life a person does–or a fetus over 24 weeks does. Anyone who’s had a baby or is pregnant knows that that fetus is actually a person–the ‘potential’ is as powerful and as real as the ‘actuality’.

        And all this blaming contraception is crap–it works if you use a proper method properly in all but a few very rare cases. Perhaps women need to take responsibility for their actions–if they slip up and get pregnant, maybe they shoud be big enough to wear it, kiss their ‘other plans’ goodbye and be accountable to the life they have created.

        Also crap is this thing about women making choices about ‘their bodies’. A baby is not a part of a woman’s body, like her toe or nose or breasts. It is another human being. Perhaps we don’t morally have the right to make life and death decisions about other human beings.

        Instead of the anticipated slating, what will convince me that we should have a legal right to abortions on demand (as we do now, I don’t really see the relevance of the 12 week-24 week debate–though it could become relevant if abortion turns out to be justified) is one good argument showing that a fetus doesn’t have the right to life a baby does…or is it just that it does, but the mother’s right to ‘independence’ (or whatever) outweighs that right to life? Answers, please…

        • NickS 18.1.3.1

          Also crap is this thing about women making choices about ‘their bodies’. A baby is not a part of a woman’s body, like her toe or nose or breasts. It is another human being. Perhaps we don’t morally have the right to make life and death decisions about other human beings.

          Congrats, you fail basic mammalian reproductive biology forever.

          It’s part of her body as it’s reliant solely on her for life support and resources to grow, and due to the joys of biology things can and do go wrong which can often endanger the women’s life and long term health, even with a (mostly) decent modern health service.

          And /vomit at the rest of your post.

          I just don’t have the motivation to trawl through the ye olde bullshit you employ to argue against a women’s bodily autonomy.

          • prosaic 18.1.3.1.1

            Ah, the anticipated slating, how predictable. That’s ‘woman’s’, not ‘women’s’. So, really, a baby is morally just the same thing as a nose, stomach, brain? How simple-minded. Biology may provide part of the answer. I am assuming there is more to the answer when we are talking about the value–not just the biological status or classification of–a baby human life. You can vomit if you like (I expect, by your argument, a baby is also equivalent to a woman’s vomit), I was asking for an argument but if you lack the motivation to examine, challenge and justify your own beliefs, so be it. Perhaps someone else has an argument.

            • Lew 18.1.3.1.1.1

              There’s no purpose in arguing with someone who can’t or won’t see the difference between a baby at 8 week gestation and at full term.

              L

            • NickS 18.1.3.1.1.2

              Yes, because biological facts are oh so passée when it comes to those precious foetuses…

              And you continue to fail biology, as a foetus is not biologically equivalent to a bodily organ, it only shares half the woman’s DNA, and requires resources while not providing any services, while posing a statistically significant risk of life and health threatening complications on top of major genetic issues leading to fetal non-viability, major, untreatable (or unmanageable), short life span inducing developmental deformities and genetic metabolic or other syndromes etc that result in a very short post birth life span. To force an adult human to carry a foetus to term in-spite of this appears highly irrational.

              And welcome to the internet, words will be misspelled, snark shall flow, and some people just can’t be bothered with more than a drive by snark due to life getting in teh way. Or depression.

              Oh yes: http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/category/compulsory-pregnancy/

              Though feminism 101 might be a better place for you to start, for you’ll likely go on a binge of mansplaining and get eaten by the locals @I Blame the Patriarchy

            • Daveosaurus 18.1.3.1.1.3

              A zygote is not a person.

    • A Nonny Moose 18.2

      Careful with the old “go to” claim of militant there Ginger.

      Until pro-choicers picket clinics in an attempt to stop people accessing health care, until there’s verbal and physical abuse, until there’s threats to your livelihood and “outing” or harrassment to family and friends, until there’s death threats, until there’s the pro-choice version of Scott Roeder, pro-choicers should really only be labelled as “angry”.

      Angry that our human rights have been trampled on for so long. Anger that when we try to do things the right way via political campaigning and proper debate we get vilified for our anger, and erroneously turned into “militants”.

      • QoT 18.2.1

        Hear bloody hear, ANM. And I’m probably about as militant as they come! I must start screaming abuse at Catholics and putting up gorey billboards opposite kindergartens.

  18. sean14 19

    The current law does not provide abortion on demand, although many like to paint it that way.

    A small point Julie, but as I understand it almost all women who apply for permission for an abortion are granted it, so the law does effectively provide abortion on demand, just with a few hoops to jump through first. I would argue that how the law is enforced is more important than what the actual letter of the law is.

    Either way, I can’t see it mattering that much. I’m not sure of I’m for or against abortion when it comes to other people. My own personal policy has been not to impregnate someone unless that is my absolute intent. It’s a policy that has served me well over the years and will continue to do so I think.

    • Julie 19.1

      Did you actually bother to finish reading the paragraph your quote is from? The experiences of actual women who have had actual abortions in this country (or tried to) does not reflect an “abortion on demand” experience.

      • sean14 19.1.1

        Yes. A woman seeking an abortion must get sign-off from two consultants, sign-off which is in reality almost always given.

        If you took the time to consider my post properly you would see that I believe the hoops should be done away with and the law should reflect what is enforced. I don’t know if I would agree with it, but as I said I don’t ever want to be involved with abortions so I’m happy if the actual law reflects the enforced law.

        • Julie 19.1.1.1

          Ah you didn’t say the hoops should be done away with at all, hence my conclusion.

          Yes the double sign-off is largely given. But how about the women who never make it to sign-off because they are intimidated by the process, receive bad advice, don’t know it’s an option, or aren’t geographically able to access advice or sign-offs within the limited time period.

          If you are ok with abortion on demand, which is what it looks to me like you are probably saying in your most recent comment, then why bother with the sign-offs at all? Why not put the power to choose in the hands of the person best placed to make that decision, ie. the pregnant woman?

          • sean14 19.1.1.1.1

            Hello again Julie. You are right, I am ok with abortion on demand. I apologise that I have not make myself clearer, but the reason that I am okay with it is that I have never had to deal with it, mostly through good planning but also with some luck I admit.

            I don’t know how I would feel about it were my partner and I in the position of having to consider it, and I hope I never have to find out.

    • Nikki 19.2

      As a woman who has been through the termination process, I find it insulting that I had to [technically] plead insanity to access a termination. I believe that the law was a product of (and contributes to) women being treated like idiots, unable to make informed decisions about their pregnancy.

      Not to mention something bizarre happening and the law being enforced in a strict manner. *shudder*

      That’s why I want a law change.

      P.S. Good personal policy. I tried the same but unfortunately, short of abstinence, no contraception is perfect.

      • Julie 19.2.1

        Thanks Nikki, the voice of women like you is that most often missing from (and indeed silenced by) these debates. I really appreciate your comment.

      • sean14 19.2.2

        Nikki, I take your point about no contraception being perfect. A scare in university showed me as much, and I hope not to have another one.

      • Ag 19.2.3

        You misunderstand the law. The mental distress thing is designed to allow abortion on demand in practice without allowing it in principle. Make abortion purely a matter of choice, and you will see men’s rights groups talk about trying to get rid of compulsory child maintenance, because parental obligations will be as a matter of substance, solely down to choice.

        There are all sorts of other reasons to treat abortion in the current way and not as a matter of personal right, because taking an extreme liberal attitude towards reproduction will not benefit women as a group.

        • query 19.2.3.1

          Careful Ag your rationality and common sense on this point will have you demonised as a women hater and second now.

        • Trouble 19.2.3.2

          No, you misunderstand the law. The 1977 CS&A act blocked most abortions until clinics started liberally interpreting the mental health thing and the courts came down on their side in 1982. Meanwhile women were still having to travel to Australia for abortions, and apparently still do from time to time.

  19. Sophie T 20

    At high school we were told that you had to ‘cry twice’ to get an abortion. This was in the late eighties, early nineties, and it seems that the law hasn’t changed since then. The wonderful sex education teacher we had told us this in reference to the two clinicians one must see in order to get an abortion. I had an abortion when I was 27. The idea that I had to appear unstable made me quite desperate, and this perhaps helped me convince them that my mental health would suffer as a result of the abortion, I do not know if they turn people down if they look too happy, but that’s the implication of the probably unenforced law as it stands. From a personal perspective, the hoops I had to jump through to get an abortion made a difficult time in my life worse.

  20. There has been a lot of discussion about the ethics around fetuses, but very little discussion around the ethics of forcing your ideology onto other people.

    If you are against abortion, then don’t get one.

  21. Descendant Of Smith 22

    I was born at 20 weeks at a time where you were left to live or die. My mother on occasion refers to me somewhat endearingly as her little abortion.

    I have children with both inherited and spontaneous genetic disorders resulting in both significant and insignificant disabilites.

    We, technically my wife, has had several spontaneous abortions, including miscarrying in town and needing to flush the foetus, well formed, down a shop toilet.

    While 18 weeks pregnant with our daughter our son was diagnosed with Neurofibromitosis (unthinkingly and uncaringly spouted out as Elephant Man’s disease) and was told that she had to have an abortion and had two weeks to have this by her GP.

    We refused and were right in picking the disorder was spontaneous not inherited

    Following some further pregnancy issues she undertook an abortion which was shown to be significantly deformed.

    We have had other family who have needed to make this choice and I had managed quite a few staff of different ages who have had to make this difficult decision one way or another, and other choices including adoption.

    We’ve been on all sides of this issue – apart from having no experience whatsoever.

    It’s an issue I’ve thought long and hard about over the years.

    I meant what I said earlier about if you wish to give women more choice then improve the environment in which they have to raise these children.

    This can be done in several ways including:
    1. Ensuring that people can raise families on one income. We have moved to a position where this is near impossible except for the few. While women are more able to work much of the choice to work has been taken away through diminishing incomes.
    2. Close the pay gender gap. If you want women to choose different options then ensure they have the same earnings capacity as men. More income gives more choice.
    3. Share child rearing responsibility more evenly – this includes housework and the raising of disabled children. In our many trips to Starship, Wellington hospital, Ronald McDonald House we were the aberration – a couple raising sick children. Nearly everyone else was a female sole parent. The men had either buggered off once the child was known to be disabled or shortly thereafter. Have a look at the number of sole parents male vs female. Quite clearly overwhelmingly male. If there was ever an argument that men should have no say in this debate it’s that. Overwhelmingly women are left to raise the children.
    4. Provide more support during those early years – in France you can get assistance with housecleaning and cooking and nappy disposal and so on.
    5. Have it as clear government policy that raising children is valued and important and puts those words into action with policies that support this.
    6. Support women who have to make these difficult choices. Not much support is needed as I haven’t met a single women who has chosen to abort who has regretted their decision. They remember, as my wife does, have a cry on their anniversaries, think about what might have been but know it was the right decision at that particular time.
    7. Free access to tubal ligation. Many women would opt for this after two or three children.

    The people who have the difficulty are those who don’t actually care about them, their feelings and their reasons. Those who don’t wan’t to understand and have no empathy for them. Those who care about their own views as being more important.

    History shows that woman (and society) will always find a way to deal with unwanted pregnancies. This is true of all societies at all times. It’s actually a normal functioning part of human-kind.

    Sometimes it’s through abortion, other times it’s through infanticide. If you examine any society in any time period you will find this is a truism.

    The real question then becomes how do we ensure this happens in as safe a way as possible and open access to safe medical procedures is the optimal way. Having women needing to be assessed as mentally unwell is simply a power and control stigmatisation – a way of dehumanising women who make this choice. A way of trying to make them feel guilty for a perfectly rational decision.

    We don’t even attempt to stigmatise the men who opt out of raising the children. It’s quite clear that for women the choice is not just about birthing a child it’s also about the raising. The men can and do simply walk away if they are not happy.

    If anything a women’s lot has got worse in the last twenty years – in all the examples of improvements that can be made above things have gone backwards.

    I would expect far more women to opt for abortion at present because society has quite significantly limited their options.

    As to when – I’m more than happy to back the science rather than the religion. Up to twenty weeks seems perfectly sensible, with up to twenty-four weeks in exceptional circumstances.

    Sorry for the long comment but this topic warrants it.

    • Deborah 22.1

      I like your comment, Descendant of Smith, and your points about providing real support to women so that they have real choices.

      But please, could you confirm that 20 week birth? It’s only in recent years that pre-term babies born at about 24 weeks have had a 50% chance of survival. I’m guessing that you are in your thirties at least, and with respect, the survival of a 20 week baby, over thirty years ago, would have been extraordinary. The ‘youngest’ premmie I could find is this one, at 21 weeks and 6 days, ‘though there is some dispute about whether gestation in this case was measured from the mother’s last menstrual period, or conception (usually about two weeks later).

      • Descendant Of Smith 22.1.1

        Yep and I’m in my 40’s. I’m still the lightest baby born to survive at the particular hospital
        I was born at.

        I was 9 inches long, and my father described me as a skinned rabbit. Apparently my skin was translucent and you could see all my veins and arteries. I left hospital at three months weighing about the same as an average baby. A lady’s handkerchief was apparently my first nappy and I still have my first booty which certainly wouldn’t fit anyone else – knitted with darning needles apparently.

        I wasn’t expected to live but managed to.

        I make no claim as to the accuracy of the measuring in the 1960’s but that was the official date determined – hence my mother’s quip. My mother as a maternity nurse has seen lots of babies born since then and would suggest about three months premature as an alternative possibility which would make it somewhere between 20 and 26 weeks.

        The internet didn’t exist back then so I’m not likely to find my details there and my memory from that time is rather hazy. The 9 inches long is at least consistent with your example so it seems reasonable that I haven’t been led up the garden path all these years.

        • Descendant Of Smith 22.1.1.1

          Having done a bit more nosing around what is at odds with 20 weeks is probably my weight at 2 pound 3 oz though this was taken some days later. That may be why Mum always had the view it was probably a little later.

          I’ll have to check my Plunket book which may be the only record now as the hospital is long closed – though apparently I was filmed at some point and used in nursing training in Wellington in some way.

          It’s not something I’ve really worried about and would hate to think that this distracts from the issue.

  22. Thanks for this Julie, good post on an important issue

  23. tsmithfield 24

    I don’t have any strong opinion on this issue. Just a question.

    If 24 weeks is the limit because fetuses become potentially viable after that point, what will happen to that limit if advances in medical technology reduce that time frame to say 20 weeks? After all, it is undoubtably advances in medical technology that allow fetuses to be viable at 24 weeks today.

    • Lew 24.1

      Then there’s no good reason according to the same logic that the cutover shouldn’t move. It will inevitably happen, subject to diminishing returns.

      But this is only the “on demand” threshold. Later abortions might be appropriate or necessary in some cases, particularly where there is danger to the mother. That wouldn’t necessarily change.

      L

      • QoT 24.1.1

        Just to be completely picky, Lew, that’s assuming one is in agreement with there being such a limit, and with “viability” being a key consideration. Which I personally don’t.

  24. Bored 25

    Some points:

    First the “cut off”. I would hope that the termination services are and can be suitably rapid in order to provide the service well before however many weeks, its not fair on the woman to be kept waiting.

    Julie pretty much summed it up with the statement she is not an incubator. We men need to get with the programme that when we object to terminations we are demanding somebody use their body in a way they are not willing to do. We dont own their bodies, we may request but we cant demand. Where we men do have a choice is in not aiding conception, thats where we can have our say. And if we are going to help conception we should do so as willing partners.

    As I have said to my children (male and female) there are three rules of sex. They are, rubber, rubber, then more rubber.

  25. jcuknz 26

    I’m pro-choice but what do I know about it as a mere male … still as the bumper stick I originally photographed in South Carolina said, and it made sense to me ….”If I’m not responsible enough to make a good choice how can I be responsible enough to look after a child” Obviously the sticker wasn’t that wordy but …..
    I am also against abortion but the cure for that is sensible and intelligent contraception.

  26. Just yesterday I was looking at the actual rates of termination at ‘Weeks of Gestation” for a specific area of NZ. The reality with the stats I saw was that ~95% of all methods of terminations took place between weeks 8 and 12, the time when most women first find out they are pregnant and are able to jump through all the hoops needed to secure a legal abortion in NZ. Less than 1% took place after week 15 (this number is probably closer to <0.5%).

    I strongly believe that the Abortion Laws in NZ need urgent review.

    First and foremost they need to be decriminalised by being put wholely under Health and removed entirely from Justice.

    Secondly, women need to be given the ability to access termination much earlier and more easily.

    Thirdly, more non-biased support needs to be made available to women who find themselves pregnant … no matter what their final decision is regards their pregnancy.

    Fourth, contraception needs to be made available FREE, along with good information about how it works.

    This issue is one that will always cause contention from all parts of society but let's get real and make good legislation that enables women to made good, informed choices for themselves and their lives.

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