I gave this submission to the Health Select Committee (B) about the proposed “Safe Areas” around abortion clinics.
“Thank you for having me. I came all the way from Taranaki, and thank you for accommodating me.
I do not think is right in a democracy for the government to restrict the voice of those who disagree with its policies.
I am now going to explain some of the logic behind safe areas.
When you start with the premise that abortion is fundamentally a health issue
And health issues deserve privacy in New Zealand
Then you reach the conclusion that any speech that may interfere with abortion is obtrusive
But when you start with the premise that abortion is an ethical issue
Because the pregnant person is carrying an unborn human child
Then respectful freedom of expression is reasonable and necessary in a free democracy.
I have been standing with my father outside of New Plymouth Base Hospital with signs of live unborn babies nearly week for the past 3 years. We have received some negative reactions but most people warm up to us within a few weeks and smile and wave. We are very open to talk with anyone who comes along and a lot of people we talk to, support our courage to stand up for what we believe in, even if they disagree with us.
During our time there several women have talked to us about being pressured by their family and partners to have an abortion against their will. One lady actually told us that the abortionist performed a procedure on her to scrape out her unborn baby without her consent or knowledge. Several people driving by have stopped to support and to share their own family stories. It is a good thing in a free democracy to encourage open discussion within a community.
I have begun giving out boxes of baby clothes and nappies to young families and mothers in need. It is about their whole life journey of bringing up good New Zealand citizens that we want to encourage.
The amendment we are discussing covers protected people which we have not actually spoken to over our time at the hospital. However we do protest just outside the premises of a hospital which provides abortion services. One of the groups of protected people is pregnant people seeking an abortion. But I wonder where is the protection for her unborn child who, inside of the abortion facility, is about to be killed. Why not allow members of the public to respectfully express their views and provide assistance and alternative life pathways to these women? 150 metres outside the premises is a long way.
We met the partner of a lady who had just found out she was pregnant. Due to Covid they didn’t feel they could support the baby and were considering abortion. I suggested the option of adoption and he really appreciated that and said he would look it up that day.
Considering the freedom of conscience of those who believe it is a human life in the womb, I do not think it is right for the government to prohibit and criminalize peaceful freedom of speech within 150 metres of abortion clinics.”