Abortion law critics angered by handling of submissions

NZ Herald 9 October 2019
Family First Comment: Conservative lobby group Family First is campaigning firmly against the legislation and its national director, Bob McCoskrie, called the situation “disgraceful”. “It’s highly controversial from both sides, so why shut that down? It’s a major change,” he said. “I think it’s patronising they can determine which submission they can hear, when you’re blocking doctors, lawyers, Pasifika leaders.” He said he believed the committee was rushing though what was a significant issue.

Opponents of proposed abortion legislation say too many submitters are being turned away by a Parliamentary committee hearing public submissions on the changes.

But the committee’s chair says every voice that needs to be heard will be.

The Abortion Legislation Bill, which would allow women access to abortions until 20 weeks’ pregnancy without having to go through current legal loopholes, overwhelmingly passed its first reading in Parliament by 94 votes to 23 in August.

A special Select Committee taking public input on the bill on Wednesday announced it had received more than 25,000 written submissions.

By comparison, the End of Life Choice Bill – legalising voluntary euthanasia – received a record 35,000 submissions last year, while same-sex marriage legislation in 2012 garnered 22,000.

The committee has now confirmed it will be hearing 150 submissions orally, out of 2890 who asked to speak.

Conservative lobby group Family First is campaigning firmly against the legislation and its national director, Bob McCoskrie, called the situation “disgraceful”.

“It’s highly controversial from both sides, so why shut that down? It’s a major change,” he said.

“I think it’s patronising they can determine which submission they can hear, when you’re blocking doctors, lawyers, Pasifika leaders.”

He said he believed the committee was rushing though what was a significant issue.

The Abortion Legislation Committee’s chair, Ruth Dyson, said it would be highly unusual for it to hear all submissions and said the quality of the input, not the speed of the process, was the only consideration.

“Hearing the same thing over and over again doesn’t add value to the committee at all,” Dyson said.

“Our committee was determined to ensure that all the major organisations and the different perspectives were heard.

“We made sure that we heard from providers of abortion services, that we have had people who had good or bad experiences, people who are in provincial areas, we really took a lot of time to go through the different perspectives.”

The committee is expected to report back with proposed changes in February before the bill goes to a second reading.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12274970&ref=twitter

twitter follow us

Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *