My submission to the abortion law reform emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ve never made such a submission before so I hope it presents ok. Submissions are due by 5:00pm this Friday – see http://abortionlaw.lawcom.govt.nz/views/. ChooseLife: http://www.chooselife.org.nz/review/
The abortion debate is commonly presented as pro-choice vs. pro-life. Both of these are a sacred human right. Humans must have the right to free will, but with exception of violating the free will of others, particularly their lives. The debate ultimately boils down to the definition of humanity. Is an unborn baby human? If so, then human rights apply. Those favoring less restrictions for abortion deny the humanity of the unborn baby. They use language avoiding their humanity – even dehumanising the unborn baby to justify their termination. As there are strong emotional arguments on both sides, it can be difficult to legislate between these.
Given abortion is commonly understood to be the termination of an unborn baby, the distinguishing factor is birth. This infers that a 5-month premature baby’s human rights are asserted and heroic measures are legislated to preserve their life, yet liberal advocates desire that more mature, yet unborn babies may be terminated.
Scientifically, the only distinction between a foetus and a baby is location. The unborn baby is biologically distinct from the mother – even leading to medical complications due to mutual biological rejection we recognize and observe their sentience even after several weeks. Expectant mothers delight in the little person growing inside them and interact with them as best they can, talking with them, playing music, poking back at that cute little foot poking out or laughing hysterically at their cute hiccups.
Historically, the abortion debate has always been with us. We judge with horror cultures that sacrifice babies. For the ancient Greeks, abortion was a crime against the state – robbing them of a future soldier or a future mother of soldiers. Even in such a violent backdrop, the life of the unborn was cherished. Economically, it is ironic, that the same generation that allowed abortion to be chosen are now lamenting their lack of retirement support.
Medically, the hippocratic oath, which still inspires the modern medical profession reject the administration of poisons or abortive remedies.
There must be recognition of genuine medical-ethical dilemmas, whereby a choice must be made between the two lives at stake. The majority of abortions are unnecessary. Even of the minority of psycho-medically excused abortions, many reflect eugenic intention by eliminating those with even mild abnormalities. Abortion is presented as the quick remedy to a greater problem, that increases as women in desperate situations are burdened with a life of guilt, remorse and emptiness. Our legislation must recognize such severe side-effects of abortion on the mother – both physically and mentally. Every effort must be made to provide the most counselling and nurture possible to address social, medical and emotional needs – whether abortion is provided or not. Groups such as the Salvation Army and Christians Against Poverty are well positioned to assist and would be a better economic investment than funding abortion clinics. Such groups with their social focus can better identify cases of coercion – whether threats of violence, emotional blackmail or a pessimistic picture of lack of support. For those who won’t keep their baby, birth is still the greatest healer and there is no shortage of wonderful prospective adoptive parents.
The unborn baby cannot speak for themselves so a decision must be made on their behalf. Our laws rightfully assume the choice of an unconscious person to live. Every heroic effort must be made to preserve their life. So too, our laws must preserve the life and holistic wellbeing of our most vulnerable citizens – our nation’s mothers and the children they carry.
Thank you for your consideration.
I pray God would bless and guide you and our government to the appropriate balance for our great nation in this issue.