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Support For Complaint of Crimes against Humanity

5 July 2011

Media Release

Complaint of Crimes against Humanity Presented to International Criminal Court

Right to Life is pleased to support the complaint of crimes against humanity being made to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. The complaint is being lodged by a group of thirty seven parents or siblings who have a member with Down syndrome. Right to Life is a co-complainant. The complaint names the Minister of Health in the New Zealand government as the person responsible for authorising the national antenatal screening programme in February 2010.

The complaint has been lodged with the Office of the Prosecutor under the provisions of Article 15.1 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to investigate and intervene in matters relating to crimes against humanity towards people with Down syndrome. The crimes relate to breaches of Article 6 and 7 of the Rome Statute through the persecution of an identifiable group of the population, namely those with Down syndrome and the deprivation of their right to life, the foundation of their human rights.

Midwives and Doctors are required to offer the antenatal screening to every woman who is pregnant. The purpose of this programme is to detect babies with Down syndrome and other conditions. Women whose baby tests positive for Down syndrome are to be offered the opportunity to terminate the life of their child. There is disturbing anecdotal evidence that women are being pressured into being socially responsible by having an abortion. This is government funded social engineering and is also eugenics where only the perfect may be born.

The government is aware from overseas experience that the result of this screening programme will result in the killing of 75 per cent of all babies with Down syndrome. The Minister of Health has stated in correspondence with this Society that the screening programme provides information to women to enable them to make choices about their pregnancy.

The government is giving the message that babies with Down syndrome are not welcome in New Zealand. The screening programme is promoting eugenics which promotes the philosophy that only the perfect should be allowed to be born. The screening programme is also in contravention of the government's own Disability Strategy which seeks to promote, "a society that highly values the lives of disabled persons and continually enhances their full participation."

The screening programme discriminates against babies diagnosed with Down syndrome. There is no known cure for Down syndrome. The screening programme is not to promote the health and wellbeing of the baby with Down syndrome but its destruction. The screening programme also devalues children with Down syndrome and is offensive to parents. Screening is ethical only when it is for the benefit of the child screened.

The government has an excellent Disability Strategy that seeks to welcome those in our community with disabilities and to value their contribution to society. It is inconsistent for the government to claim that they are endeavouring to welcome those with a disability and at the same time seeking to identify babies with Down syndrome in order that they may encourage their destruction by being torn limb from limb in their mother's womb in an abortion sanctioned and funded by the government.

Abortion is the deliberate killing of a defenceless and innocent child in the womb. Right to Life requests that the government cease the crimes against humanity perpetrated in this search and destroy screening programme that targets babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities. The government should also stop clinicians from offering vulnerable women an abortion for the killing of their child.

ends

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