Family First Midweek Update (17 May) – hot off the press!

1.Strong Support for Parental Notification Law Change 
Media Release 15 May 2011 
A Family First-commissioned poll last year found extensive support (4 out of 5 people) for parental notification when their daughter is pregnant and considering, or is being advised to have, an abortion. In response to the question “Should the law require parents to always be informed before-hand if their daughter who is under 16 is pregnant and wants to have an abortion?” 79% responded yes, only 12% said no, and 9% either didn’t know or refused to answer. “This is a very strong response, and is a rebuke to the politicians in 2004 who chose to exclude parents from this process when debating the provision in the Care of Children Bill,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “The coverage on the front page of the Sunday Star Times today reminds us of the urgency to change this legislation.” READ MORE
Schools arrange secret abortions
Sunday Star Times 15/05/2011 A mother is angry her 16-year-old daughter had a secret abortion arranged by a school counsellor. READ MORE
Newstalk ZB Calls for change in teen abortion law   
3 News  Schools accused of ignorance in abortion debate  
ONE News Some abortion secrets need to be kept, say advocates …But Family First calls for the vital role of parents to be respected when it comes to teen abortions. 
Christchurch Press Teens urged ‘tell parents’ of abortion School counsellors need to encourage pregnant teenage girls to speak to their parents before undergoing an abortion, a clinical psychologist says. 
NZ Herald Row rages over school abortion   
                                              LISTEN LISTEN Newstalk ZB
2.Prime time TV blurs family with frisky
NZ Herald May 14, 2011
Some critics call it “sleaze TV”. One MP has even suggested making most of prime time “adults only” to reflect the increased amount of sexual material on offer. The debate over early evening television programming hit the headlines last week when Labour’s Lianne Dalziel claimed regular soaps such as Shortland Street and Coronation Street were unfit for children. So is early-evening TV no longer fit for family viewing? We sampled TV2’s comedy night on Wednesday from 6.30pm to 9pm to test its suitability for Mum, Dad and three school-aged children. This is what we found. READ MORE
Family First Comment: The NZ Herald has finally woken up to the fact that our free-to-air channels are becoming more and more sleasy and offensive during family viewing times. The problem is that we’ve been saying it for years. In December 2008, a Family First investigation of 15 programmes on four free-to-air channels between 6pm and 8.30pm over a period covering November 4 – 13 found a saturation of foul language, sexual innuendo, and promotion of Adult Only programmes. And last year, an independent poll of 1,000 people commissioned by Family First found that 2 out of 3 NZ’ers are concerned about the level of foul language, violence and sexual content during family viewing times. Welcome to the real world, NZ Herald. Perhaps now you could join our call for a clean-up of the broadcasting standards, better community and family representation on the BSA, and a pre-vetting system.
3.Foetus kicker given ‘strike’ 
Taranaki Daily News 14 May 2011
A man who kicked his pregnant partner in the stomach “like a rugby ball” screaming he wanted to kill the baby has been sent to jail. ..Judge Allan Roberts said James was a recidivist violent offender who had numerous convictions for assaulting his partner. …James was sentenced to two years in prison and given a first strike warning. READ MORE
Family First Comment: If Three Strikes had been introduced earlier, his partner and her unborn child may never have had to endure this serious assault. In Family First’s submission on the Three Strikes legislation, we actually argued that previous violent offences should be aggregated. It’s difficult to see how anyone could argue against Three Strikes legislation when you see these types of cases. 
4.Ashburton Council Should Protect Families From Brothels
Media Release 13 May 2011
Family First NZ is calling on the Ashburton District Council to respond to the concerns of families and prevent brothels being established in residential areas. “Family First has been contacted by families concerned about the proposed residential brothel. It is not sufficient for the Council to say that their hands are tied,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “Councils have every right under the law to restrict the location of brothels. They should push the location of brothels to areas well away from children and families.” READ MORE
‘Take a stand against the brothel’
Ashburton Guardian May 14 2011
The Ashburton District Council should take a moral rather than a legislative approach to allowing a brothel to set up in residential Ashburton, a family advocate group says. READ MORE
5.Divorce’s toll borne by children
The Sunday Telegraph May 08, 2011
Children of divorced parents grow up faster, leave home younger and are more likely to have sex before they turn 16. They are also three times more likely to have a baby and live with their partner before their 20th birthday. The findings are contained in a report that shows children from broken homes are significantly more likely to experience long-term disadvantage across a range of social and psychological outcomes than those children whose parents stay together. READ MORE
6.Brothel checks stepped up for Rugby World Cup
NZ Herald May 13, 2011
Immigration New Zealand is stepping up border security and brothel checks to clamp down on overseas prostitutes arriving to work illegally during the Rugby World Cup. ….One brothel owner says he has already been contacted by sex workers from Asia and even some from Germany wanting to work here during the six week competition period. “We don’t smuggle them into the country … these girls come on their own accord, willingly, and we just give them a place to do their work,” he said. Sex workers will be taken on as “tenants” rather than contractors or employees to ensure the brothel was not responsible for their immigration status, he said. READ MORE
Family First Comment: The sad reality is that they think they can stop human trafficking. But they simply arrive either under student visas, OR under an arrangement admitted by brothel owners in this article. There has already been a number of acknowledgements that trafficking is happening under the radar (here, here and here). The US have rightly been critical of our lack of inaction and weak sentences e.g. community work. The rugby world cup will simply exacerbate the problem. And we thought the fans came to watch the rugby!?
7.Agencies merger ‘makes sense’
Dominion Post 12/05/2011
Finance Minister Bill English says he has not thoroughly considered a merger of the families and children’s commissions but can see merit in the idea. ..Asked about the future of the Families Commission, Mr English said it was only a small public-sector organisation but ministers were looking at all expenditure to make sure it was effective. Commission founding father and UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has said he would consider a merger of the two agencies. Mr English said he had not looked at the ideal in detail but it “makes sense”. “I think it’s a sign of the general pressure in the state sector to cut costs and be more effective. If Mr Dunne can see a way of supporting that with change in the Families Commission then we’re interested in the idea.” READ MORE
Family First Comment: READ our commentary “Why do we have Children and Families Commissions?” According to the Dominion Post today Finance Minister Bill English is struggling to understand that two under-performing Commissions, combined together, would save a lot of money and make little difference to the output.
8.Abortion pill ‘less safe than surgery’
The Australian May 07, 2011
Complications from the abortion pill are higher than for standard surgical terminations, according to the first big published study comparing the two methods in Australia…The findings will undermine a selling point of medical abortion – that the risk of complication is less than or equivalent to an operation – and play into the hands of opponents of the rollout of mifepristone, or RU486. READ MORE

SURROGACY9.Heartache reveals dark side to surrogacy
Courier-Mail May 11 2011 A mother’s torment at handing her biological baby over to a gay couple has highlighted the pitfalls of surrogacy without psychological counselling, experts say. READ MORE
Mother of Queensland’s first surrogate baby regrets giving him up
The Courier-Mail 6 May 2011 READ MORE
10.Fewer behavior problems for breastfed kids
Reuters May 10, 2011
Babies who are breastfed are less likely to grow into children with behavior problems by the time they reach the age of five than those who receive formula milk, scientists said on Tuesday. READ MORE 
11.”Cone of silence” around child cruelty must end
Otago Daily Times 10 May 2011
New Zealand has for too long allowed a “cone of silence” to surround cases of cruelty to children, Justice Minister Simon Power told Parliament last night. He was speaking on a bill that will make it an offence for people who live with a child and who know the child is at risk of death, harm or sexual assault to fail to take reasonable steps to protect the child from that risk. ..Mr Power said the message that was coming from the public was straightforward — politicians must stop sitting on their hands when it came to children being abused, mistreated and killed in households where family members and others were not coming forward to speak out about what was happening. READ MORE
12.Law should get tough on school bullies, say principals
Dominion Post 11/05/2011
Increasing female violence has contributed to a jump in the number of assaults at schools and educational institutes, says a principals’ representative who is advocating prison terms for repeat student offenders. READ MORE