Town divided over abortion

The abortion debate is heating up in Thames with a pro-choice group vowing to demonstrate each week alongside pro-life protesters.

The demonstration is in response to a regular demonstration by pro life group Voice for Life demonstrators.

Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRANZ) member Scott Summerfield said the aim of the demonstration was to support women seeking abortion services at the hospital.

“They harass and humiliate women coming here for an abortion,” he said.

However, Voice for Life Hauraki Branch secretary Lyn Hopkins said the pro-life group’s demonstrations were peaceful.

She denied that any of the demonstrators in her group had harassed women going in for an abortion.

“We just say good morning to people walking past and if somebody wants to talk to us they can,” she said.
“We offer advice, care and support if they want it.

“We want these people to think about the issue and to be there to support women who want to make a better choice in their life and that is to choose life for their child.”

Green MP Catherine Delahunty was at the demonstration.

“I don’t think that they have an understanding of how damaging these actions have been, not only to those women going to the health services but for people who have been traumatised by their own experiences,” she said.

Hopkins said the Voice for Life group could not demonstrate on August 5 because it didn’t have a permit from Thames Coromandel District Council.

The group had been demonstrating without a permit for about five years because they weren’t aware they needed one, she said.

However, they intended to resume their protest as soon as they could get a permit, she said.


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