Abortion law rushed and undemocratic

Andrew Little undemocratic behaviour

Submitters to the Parliamentary committee on abortion legislation are accusing Justice Minister, Andrew Little of undemocratic behaviour; rushing through liberalised abortion laws.

They are angry their voices are denied a hearing by the special Select Committee taking public input on his Abortion Legislation Bill.

Committee chair, Ruth Dyson, Wednesday, announced the committee would only hear 150 of 2890 seeking an oral submission.

Dyson told RNZ, “Every voice that needs to be heard will be”.

She confirmed the Committee had received more than 25,000 written submissions.

By comparison, the End of Life Choice Bill – legalising voluntary euthanasia – received a record 35,000 submissions last year, while same-sex marriage legislation in 2012 garnered 22,000.

Opponents of Little’s legislation say too many submitters are being turned away and claim their rights are violated.

“This is totally unacceptable in the democracy”, Right to Life says in a statement.

Family First is of a similar view.

“This means that more than 2,700 submitters from both sides of the debate are being denied the ability to engage with the politicians about this controversial bill,” it says in a statement.

“95% of submitters are being muzzled”.

“The committee has also said that they are ‘focusing on submissions that will most help it consider what, if any, changes should be recommended to the bill.’

Family First considers this indicates the general intent of the legislation is already accepted.

“This is a shocking abuse of the process and debate”, it says.

Right to Life sounds a warning, accusing the committee of not properly doing its job.

“Those who govern should not forget that they govern with the consent of the governed.

“We the governed have an absolute right to be heard,” it says.

Both groups accuse the Committee of doing a rush-job; ramming through Andrew Little’s controversial legislation.

“The community should be concerned and alarmed that the Minister of Justice wants this committee to act with urgency in reporting this contentious bill back to Parliament in order that it can be rushed through Parliament and passed into law before the 19 December 2019 the last sitting day for this year”, Right to Life says.

It says there is no urgency to pass this bill, but there is an urgency for the Committee to ensure all citizens, for and against, are heard.

Family First says a range of people have contacted them; lawyers, health care professionals, national organisations, women and families who are being denied the right to speak.



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