By Vatican News
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops say they are “deeply disappointed” over their country’s new Abortion Legislation Bill. Parliament passed the Bill on Tuesday by a margin of 68 to 51 votes. Until now, New Zealand has been the only Western nation to consider abortion illegal.
“This Bill totally ignores the fact that there are always at least two human lives involved in every pregnancy,” said the Bishops’ spokesperson in a statement posted on their website.
A travesty of human rights
Speaking on behalf of the Bishops, Cynthia Piper, a professor at the Catholic Leadership Institute, called the Bill “a travesty of human rights”. “To hold that the fetus is not a legal person ignores the reality that a genetically unique human life has begun which is neither that of the mother or the father. That the law fails to recognize this does not change what is a biological and human fact”, she says.
Failing many women
According to the statement, the Bishops Conference believes the new abortion law will fail many women. “This law does nothing to help those women who, for a variety of reasons, choose an abortion because they feel they have no other choice, whether that is because of partner pressure or for economic or social reasons”, reads the statement.
“Neither does this law do anything to reduce the overall number of abortions, something that a majority of New Zealanders have consistently said they want. It has been rushed through and is ill-considered in so many ways.”
Lacking compassionate amendments
Furthermore, the Bishops say they are “absolutely dismayed” that Parliament voted down a host of amendments that would have made the new legislation much more compassionate. According to the Bishops’ spokesperson, “These included amendments that would have required babies born alive to be cared for like any other child, a ban on sex selection abortions, and a ban on disability discrimination abortions”.