The New Zealand bishops’ protest against the bill to decriminalize abortion did nothing: passed at first reading in the summer of 2019, the text was finally passed by parliament on March 18, 2020.
“They want to introduce abortion on demand,” protested the New Zealand Conference of Bishops in a statement released on February 19, 2020.
A few days earlier, on February 14, the Parliamentary Commission responsible for the revision of the law on abortion gave the green light to a presentation at the second reading of the text extending the time limit for resorting to a “voluntary termination of pregnancy.” It was a question of authorizing abortions beyond the present 20 week legal limit.
“Such a measure will facilitate the abortion of children with disabilities,” said Cynthia Piper, spokeswoman for the episcopal conference. Indeed, what was then only a bill removed all reference to fetal anomalies, leaving the field open to eugenics all the more pernicious because it conceals its name.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was personally involved in the battle: “the time has absolutely come to change the law,” said the head of the New Zealand government, following the recommendations of the Parliamentary Commission.
Parliament agreed with her, by voting on March 18, 2020—by 68 votes “for” as opposed to 51 “against”—decriminalization of abortion, an act that had previously been punishable by imprisonment.
“The passage of the bill will be a catastrophe because the rights of the unborn child will no longer be guaranteed,” said the New Zealand bishops. Even less those of the Creator and Master of life.