This means that more than 2,700 submitters from both sides of the debate are being denied the ability to engage with the politicians about this controversial bill. Either the committee is in a rush to ram this legislation through, or they just don’t want to respect the rights of submitters to be heard in person by the committee. We suspect it’s both reasons.
No other issue quite cuts to the heart of our humanity and life than the issue of abortion – and that is why there has been a strong reaction with more than 25,000 written submissions in the extremely short timeframe of six weeks. This is a significant piece of legislation involving life, death and human rights of our most vulnerable.
Family First has been contacted by lawyers, pregnancy counsellors and organisations, medical professionals including midwives, bioethics experts, national organisations, and women & families with powerful experiences – even a woman conceived as a result of rape – that have been denied the right to speak to and clarify points made in their submission.
In contrast, the committee considering the euthanasia bill heard 1,350 oral submissions over 16 months.
Some of those denied to make an oral submission include:
Marina Young: Buttons Project – Post abortion care
Dr Ate Moala: Pacific Child, Youth and Family Integrated Care (PACYFIC) Trust
Dr Vili Sotutu: Pediatrician
Nick Tuitasi: Pasifika Leader
Aimee Kamphuis: Midwife.
Dr Stuart Lange: New Zealand Christian Network
Michael Loretz: National March for Life Director 2017 / 2018
Catherine Gillies: Auckland March for Life Director
Hillary Kieft: Parental notification advocate
The committee has also said that they are ‘focusing on submissions that will most help it consider what, if any, changes should be recommended to the bill.’ This would indicate that the general intent of the legislation has already been accepted. That is a shocking abuse of the process and debate.
Deputy chair of the committee Amy Adams, who’s National party is currently accusing the Ministry of Transport of blocking objections to the car tax-rebate scheme encouraging the purchase of low-emissions vehicles, should also be calling for the same transparency for this committee.
The Select Committee should take time to fully consider the ramifications of liberalising the law, and should travel the country and hear as many oral submissions as reasonably possible. If that means requesting further time to present the report back to Parliament, so be it.
Significant consideration and extreme caution should be given to the bill – because if we get this wrong, there are deadly consequences. The select committee risks rushing the process purely for political convenience and ignoring the important human rights ramifications.
All New Zealanders – from both sides – should be respected and listened to on this issue.