John Key on Abortion
Bob McCoskrie of Family First NZ interviewed the Prime Minister John Key earlier this month at the 8th annual NZ Forum on the Family. They discussed a range of issues including marriage equality, “smacking”, “euthanasia”, prostitution, decriminalising marijuana and, yes, abortion. The whole video is on YouTube (and the abortion discussion starts around 29 minutes). We thought you might be interested in our transcript of that part of the discussion.
Bottom line: John Key says he opposed liberalising abortion law because it would encourage people to treat abortion as contraception. Sigh! (See highlighted passages).
Bob McCoskrie: The Greens say that an unborn child at 19 weeks can be aborted but an unborn child at 20 weeks cannot be, because they’ve said there’s a 20-week cut-off. There’s this argument about where does the right for a woman to have an abortion against the right of an unborn child to life. Where do you put that point at?
John Key: If you look at the current law and accept that there will be lots of interpretations within that law so there are as you probably know because you know more about it than I probably ever will, but if you look at that law, there’s lots of situations where an abortion is legally acceptable.
BM: But effectively it is abortion on demand we have in New Zealand isn’t it – 99 percent of abortions are approved.
JK: My guess is that’s probably right, a) because of the stats that you quote and b) while in theory there are examples that say ‘well it’s under this – it’s under 20 weeks gestation period but then it sort of goes into if there was a parent, sibling, orwhatever it is – there’s various legal things – but in the end I think it’s about the impairment on the mother and the child so in reality yes. So the reason I’m opposed to changing the law is that again, I think the law broadly works; I accept that it’s likely that the bulk of people that are terminating pregnancy are probably doing so on the basis that they – it’s an unwanted pregnancy and they feel that they can’t cope or don’t want to at that point in their life raise a child. So I think the issue there is that if you went to further liberalisation my concern I think would be that people would see that as a legitimate contraception device in a way that all of a sudden they would be more encouraged to go down that path and be less careful, so I’d be opposed to that.