Stuff co.nz 9 July 2010
The first question I’d like to ask Labour list MP Steve Chadwick is: “Why now?” What’s convinced her that the time is right to reopen the abortion debate? What ill-omened denizen of the current political environment has told her that this is the moment to introduce a members bill permitting abortion-on-demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy?
I would really, really like to know who it was. Because, try as I may, I’m finding it really difficult to make the cost/benefit analysis come out in Ms Chadwick’s, her party’s, or even her gender’s favour.
Her decision might, of course, be driven entirely by ideological considerations – by an unwavering conviction that every woman has an incontestable right to do whatever she pleases with, and to, her own body. That would make a sort of sense – providing, of course, she’s willing to accept the consequences of making ideology the battleground upon which this issue is decided. What’s sauce for the ideological goose must also be sauce for the ideological gander.
Clearly, Ms Chadwick’s proposed bill has got me perplexed. I simply cannot see what difference – in practical terms – changing the present legislation would make.
According to statistics supplied by the Abortion Supervisory Committee, there were 18,382 abortions carried out in New Zealand in 2007. That’s 12,437 more than in 1980 – barely two years after the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act came into force on April 1, 1978.