New Zealand Prime Minister Ardern votes to leave babies born alive after abortions to die

By Right to Life UK

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has joined 80 other politicians in voting against an attempt to require health professionals to give medical help to babies born alive after ‘failed’ abortions.

The Care of child born after abortion amendment was brought forward by the MP for Tamaki, Simon O’Connor at the committee stage of the Abortion Legislation Bill. The vote was lost 37 votes to 80.

The amendment would have required that if a baby was born alive following a failed abortion, a qualified health practitioner or any other health practitioner present at the time the child is born, would have a duty to provide the child with appropriate medical care and treatment.

It would have also required the medical care and treatment of a child born as a result of a failed abortion to be no different than the duty to provide medical care and treatment to a child born other than as a result of an abortion.

Data from the few other countries where there are similar extreme abortion laws to the one proposed in New Zealand shows that it is likely that many more babies will be born alive following abortions–as it will in practice allow abortion for any reason between 20-weeks and birth when unborn children are much more likely to survive a ‘failed’ abortion.

A similar law in Victoria, Australia, allows for abortion right through to birth on physical, psychological and social grounds when approved by two doctors; this can be the abortion operating surgeon and anaesthetist.

This has, in practice, allowed for abortion on demand, for any reason, right through to birth in Victoria.

Ahead of the legislation being introduced in Victoria in 2008, abortion activists claimed that, although abortion would, in practice, be allowed for any reason, doctors would ensure that the vast majority of abortions would only occur in rare circumstances, such as when a baby has a condition where they would either die in the womb or shortly after birth (a fatal foetal abnormality or life-limiting disability).

Similar claims are currently now being made about the proposed NZ abortion law by abortion campaigners and MPs in New Zealand.

However, data from the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality detailing 12 years of the law being in operation in Victoria shows that this has not been the case.

This data shows that since the law changed in 2008, 1,418 late-term abortions (between 20-weeks’ gestation and birth) have been performed by doctors for ‘psychosocial’ reasons. These were abortions where the baby did not have a disability and the abortion was performed on social grounds. In 2011, one of these abortions on social grounds occurred at 37 weeks.

Under New Zealand law currently, abortion is allowed post-20 weeks on very strict grounds–when the abortion is “necessary to save the life of the woman or girl or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health”.

This strict law has meant that abortions post 20-weeks are rare. For example, 72 abortions occurred after 20-weeks in New Zealand in 2017.

Victoria has a population that is only 32% larger than New Zealand’s. But the number of abortions that occurred post 20-weeks were much higher, 323 or 348.61% higher than the number that occurred in New Zealand that same year (published data for Victoria has not been released for 2018 yet).

In Victoria scores of babies have been left to die after being born alive during a number of ‘botched’ terminations.

The Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity reported that in 2012 there were 53 ‘terminations of pregnancy’ after 20 weeks ‘resulting in live birth’.

By contrast, a 2008 report for England and Wales found that 66 infants were born alive after NHS [National Health Service] terminations in one year. While these figures are comparable in number, Victoria’s population of 6.36 million is just a tenth of the size of the population in England and Wales.