Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Abortion furor only has one winner

By Grant Dexter

ProLife NZ is watching the New Zealand media to fact check their reporting on abortion-related matters. This was prepared for that group to use, but the ideas are the author's.

Maori Television's Regan Paranihi on Oct. 30 had a headline saying: "Abortion survey: 66% support women's right to choose."

Paranihi cited "New Zealand's first gender attitudes survey," which was prepared last year by Gender Equal NZ and titled Gender Attitudes Survey.

Gender Equal NZ has a motto of "making equality reality," but did not provide a definition of "equality" in the survey. They left that open for respondents to define for themselves. The group's Web site also did not define "equality," but listed a set of descriptions that it is working toward. Presumably, if New Zealand were to be a nation where "gender were diverse and expansive" and "genitals did not determine gender," it would have "equality."

The Gender Attitudes Survey did indeed find that 66 percent of respondents supported a "right to choose." It wording the survey: "A woman should have the right to choose whether ... she has an abortion" and sought a level of support from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree), with a side option of "don't know."

Its results in percentage form were: 10 strongly disagreeing, 2 disagreeing less strongly, 2 disagreeing, 15 in the "neutral" category, while those agreeing were 5 percent, 12 percent and 49 in the "strongly agree" camp. Five percent of respondents said that they did not know. That was collated as 14 percent in the "disagree" camp and 66 percent agreeing.

These numbers seem to be in accord with statistics from the US, with Pew reporting that as of this year, public support for legal abortion remained as high as it had been in two decades of polling, with 58 percent saying "abortion should be legal in all or most cases" and 37 percent saying it should be illegal in all or most cases.

The distinct wording of the US questionnaire was likely to pull its numbers down from the less well-defined phrasing Gender Equal NZ used.

However, the rates should not be surprising. It might be somewhat encouraging that 29 percent of the respondents did not agree that abortion is a "right," even though it is unclear what most groups mean when they say "right" and based on a quick Google search, Gender Equal NZ has not defined it.

Presumably, this 29 percent is an example of "male superiority [being] vividly illustrated by our survey results," as Gender Equal NZ programme advisor Sandra Dickson said in the survey's introduction.

Returning to the Maori Television report, Paranihi wrote: "This survey shows that more people support a reform in the law around abortion and the recent report from the Law Commission identifies three legal ways to make that possible."

He quoted Gender Equal NZ spokeswoman Gill Greer as saying that: "All three models remove abortion from the Crimes Act, which is an absolute necessity if we are to achieve a truly gender-equal New Zealand."

There are three substantive problems with the rationale of the article and the survey it cites. In order from most relevant and significant, they are:

First, Paranihi assumes that the popularity of an idea is a good basis for policymaking; second, he shows ignorance of what New Zealand regulations say about abortion; and third, the survey assumes that "gender equality" is a moral imperative and foists that upon the respondents.

The popularity of an idea is a horrific means by which to determine policy. Policy should be written by men in authority with reliance upon sound reason and good evidence. This would obviously eliminate those who believe that "trans men are men" or that "people" — rather than only women — can become pregnant. The idea that policy is to be formed by popular opinion leads to two inescapable truths:
There will never be a situation where the top policy platform will be determined by a national vote. The End of Life Choice Bill that the Justice Committee is considering is a prime example of this. The details of the bill will never be voted on, moreover, the overwhelming majority of public submissions were against the proposed regulations, as a select committee conceded during public submissions, but it seems inevitable that suicide will become an option when seeking medical aid. The main issue with a democratic approach to policymaking is that the law is — at least in theory — an interweaving set of tutorials that guide men on how to coexist in society. Were it to be made up of a raft of regulations that were each chosen by which was most popular, there would be no reason or sense to it.

However, that is not why the democratic approach to policymaking is wrong. It is immoral because people tend to be evil; they will eventually vote others "off the island," as has already happened with the regulation of abortion. Thousands of babies are killed every year in the name of convenience and with the signature of two doctors. 

The second issue is that Paranihi shows the same ignorance of the law that many on both sides of the issue have. ProLife NZ on Oct. 27 edited a Facebook post from a day earlier that said: "The NZ Law Commission has made several extreme abortion liberalisation proposals" to add: "including the possibility of unrestricted late-term abortion up to birth." However, that change did not address the perception of ignorance, as nothing much is going to change if the "liberalisation" proposals are introduced, because abortion is already regulated through an entire pregnancy, according to Part 8, Section 187(A), Paragraph 3 of the Crimes Act.

It says: "Any act ... is done unlawfully unless, in the case of a pregnancy of more than 20 weeks’ gestation, the person doing the act believes that the miscarriage is necessary to save the life of the woman or girl or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health."

That "mental health" part is an open door for a woman to present any number of reasons, which the signatory to murder presumably has to take on face value in a society based on "equality."

For Paranihi's part, he has not been told of the irrelevance of the battle of ideas presented by Gender Equal NZ.

He wrote that the survey lends support for a change to the law, but not much would change if the rules he outlined came to pass. Currently, a woman needs a reason and two signatures to terminate her child through all nine months. Model A to "liberalise" — allowing pregnant woman "to be completely in control of their own decisions, lives and bodies, a basic right to which all New Zealanders should be entitled" — would simply mean the woman would not need the reason and the signatures. That does not seem like much of a change.

The third problem is with the survey, which foists the "morality of equality" upon the respondent. It presents the survey as if it is undeniable that gender is a spectrum and sex-based discernment is evil. Its introduction pretends that Serena William's tennis ability and the prowess of Portia Woodman on the rugby field are reason enough to believe that men and women are "equal," when the truth is that Williams would not rank among the top 200 in the men's game and the Black Ferns — as rugby is a team sport — would get trounced most of the way down the men's club grades.

This is not supposed to be funny; men and women are different for a reason. God made them physically, mentally and spiritually distinct. Declaring that society would be better if such distinctions were erased is a pathway to destruction.

Furthermore, the abortion statistic has been pulled out of the survey and presented as good enough reason to change the regulations. Are those on the wrong side of history willing to be consistent? The survey also shows that more people agree that "false rape accusations are common" than disagree. Is there going to be a law change discussed with respect to that majority? Or are we supposed to bow to the ideals of Gender Equal NZ, not democracy?

Reporter Thomas Coughlan wrote that the government might have difficulty getting reform through parliament and a "protracted and ugly referendum" might arise.

If there is going to be a public debate, it needs to be between those who uphold the personhood of babies from conception — meaning abortion is murder, without exception — and those who deny the personhood of the unborn to justify their lust for child-killing. A referendum that chooses between whether women can murder their children according to the Criminal Code or murder them according to proposed "health" regulations only ends one way and will only favor one side.

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