Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Ardern’s broken promise to the disability community

Govt’s abortion bill lifts time limit on abortions for babies with disabilities from 20-weeks up to birth, breaking Jacinda Ardern’s promise to the disability community


Down syndrome advocacy group Saving Downs have condemned the New Zealand Government’s new abortion bill which, if it becomes law, will introduce abortion for abortion right through to birth for babies with disabilities.


Under section 187A of the Crimes Act there is currently a gestational time limit of 20-weeks for abortion for disability, providing two doctors sign off on the abortion.


The Government’s new abortion bill, if it becomes law, will remove the current 20-week gestational time limit for disability. Instead, abortion will be available for disabilities including Down syndrome right through to birth, providing one registered health practitioner signs off on the abortion under the new well-being grounds outlined in section 11 of the Bill, that will allow for abortion up to birth. In the handful of jurisdictions that have a similar clause allowing for abortion up to birth, this has in practice allowed for abortion for disabilities including Down syndrome right through to birth. The proposed New Zealand legislation in fact only requires one registered health practitioner, which could include a single nurse, rather than the higher threshold of two doctors for example in Victoria, Australia which has a similar abortion up to birth clause.


In 2017 Saving Down’s highlighted their concerns around Jacinda Ardern’s pledge to change abortion laws and that this would introduce abortion through to birth for babies with disabilities. In response, Jacinda Ardern made a commitment to not increase the time limit for disability-selective abortion.


In response to the concern raised by Saving Downs, Jacinda Ardern said:


"They have said till 40 weeks, which is wrong, which is wrong. We have time periods already set out in law, I'm not proposing changes to that. I'm proposing it comes out of the Crimes Act."


The Government’s proposed change to the law could also see New Zealand fall foul of international disability rights obligations, as the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has consistently criticised countries that provide for abortion in a way which discriminates on the basis of disability.


Already the majority of babies in New Zealand diagnosed with Down syndrome are screened out by termination and if this proposed policy became law it could put us on the path towards the situation in Iceland where close to 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.


Today Saving Down’s have launched an open letter to Jacinda Ardern from people with Down syndrome and their families asking the Prime Minister to make a commitment to ensure that she does not break her promise, and that the Government either withdraws the Bill or urgently introduces a specific provision to the Bill that will ensure that abortion for disabilities will not be allowed from 20-weeks through to birth.


Mike Sullivan, head of Down syndrome advocacy group Saving Downs and father of Rebecca who has Down syndrome said:


“Thinking of my daughter, I can’t believe that in 2019 in Aotearoa, New Zealand we would see the coalition introducing a Government Bill which will introduce abortion through to birth for babies with Down syndrome and other disabilities.


Jacinda Ardern made a promise to our community ahead of the 2017 election that she would not increase the time limit for disabilities from 20-weeks. She has broken this promise, not only lifting the limit, but increasing it right through to birth.


This sends a strong discriminatory message and a progressive New Zealand can do better for people with disabilities like my daughter than introducing abortion up to birth.


Today we have launched an open letter to Jacinda Ardern from people with Down syndrome and their families asking Jacinda Ardern to make a commitment to ensure that she does not break her promise, and either withdraws the Government’s bill or introduces a specific provision to the Bill that will ensure that abortion for disabilities will not be allowed from 20-week through to birth.


It is vital that she follows through on her promise and ensures that abortion for disabilities including Down syndrome are not allowed after 20 weeks. Already the majority of babies in New Zealand diagnosed with Down syndrome are screened out by termination and if this proposed policy became law it could put us on the path towards the situation in Iceland where close to 100% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted.”


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Apparent Inability To Read The Public Mood


The basic skill that a successful politician needs is the ability to “read the room” and gauge the public mood. If National Party leader Judith Collins ever possessed that ability, it seems to have deserted her of late. Surely, very, very few of the public would agree with Collins and her deputy Gerry Brownlee when they claim :
(a)that the threat from Covid-19 means that the election due on September 19 must be postponed until November, or sometime next year
(b) that in the middle of the current outbreak the government is obliged to hand over all the relevant decision- making to the top officials in the public service... More>>

 

Government: Plan To Tackle Problem Plastics

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment announced Associate Minister for the Environment ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The New Lockdowns, Leadership And Lebanon

As Melbourne has shown, the webs of urban life overlap so extensively that community transmission can be very hard to trace, let alone control. Each of the family members in the South Auckland family at the centre of the current outbreak will have had ... More>>


ALSO:

National: Emma Mellow As Auckland Central Candidate

Tonight the National Party has selected Emma Mellow to stand in the Auckland Central electorate for the 2020 General Election. Emma Mellow replaces retiring MP Nikki Kaye who first won the seat from Labour in 2008. Emma leads a team of communications ... More>>

ALSO:

Travel: Update On New Zealand And The Cook Islands Bubble

The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Henry Puna have welcomed the completion of phase one in the establishment of a travel bubble between New Zealand and the Cook Island. More>>

Election 2020: Labour Launch

E ngā mana e ngā reo Ngāti whātua ngā mana whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau, e tika te kōrero Ehara taku toa he toa (taki tahi) he toa (taki tini) No rēira tātou e huihui mai nei, ka ‘Hoake tonu tātou’ Thank you for that welcome. And thank ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Political Twins, And On Labour Extending Its Wage Subsidy Scheme

A quick quiz for the weekend. Which political party currently represented in Parliament issued a press release yesterday that contained these stirring passages: “[We have] long supported a free trade and free movement area between Canada, Australia, New ... More>>

ALSO:

Democracy 2.0: NextElection Partners With Scoop For Exciting Democracy Tech

Joint Press Release: NextElection, Scoop.co.nz, ScoopCitizen NextElection , a technology platform empowering democracy and Government accountability, and Scoop Independent News have partnered to strengthen citizen participation in the 2020 New Zealand General ... More>>

ALSO:


Covid-19: Poll On Management Approval

New Zealanders’ overall trust in the Ministry of Health and Government to manage the COVID-19 pandemic is at 82%, down from 91% during April. Overall distrust that the Ministry and Government will manage it in ways which best protect themselves More>>

Election 2020: National Releases 2020 Party List

National’s 2020 Party List is a strong mix of experience coming up through our Caucus, and new and exciting talent joining our team from communities across New Zealand, Party President Peter Goodfellow says. “The National Party is incredibly ... More>>

Horizon Research Limited: How Judith Collins Stopped The Bleeding

Horizon Research includes questions on voting from time to time in its surveys – for both forthcoming referenda and general elections. More>>

Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms

As New Zealand gets ready to head to the ballot box this September, 1 NEWS is bringing voters comprehensive coverage and analysis of this year’s General Election. TVNZ’s coverage will draw on the depth of experience held across the 1 NEWS team, says Graeme ... More>>

Economy: 30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs

64% of New Zealanders feel the economic position of their households is the same or better than a year ago – and 30% think it is worse or much worse, while 298,000 think they will lose their jobs in the next 12 months. Households’ perceptions ... More>>

State Services Commission: Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach

Deputy State Services Commissioner Helene Quilter has today announced the findings of an investigation into a breach of privacy regarding sensitive personal information. The investigation looked into who or what caused the disclosure of the information, ... More>>

International Security: New Zealand Suspends Extradition Treaty With Hong Kong

The New Zealand Government has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and made a number of other changes in light of China’s decision to pass a national security law for Hong Kong, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says. More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels