We will return to our regularly scheduled coverage of party leader’s position on abortion. Meanwhile, this week’s Vote Choice series focuses on what we have heard from supporters across social media. We’ve also listed some interesting resources that can help inform your voting decision at the end.
Currently featuring on the Facebook page, Abortion and the 2014 Election, are discussions on women candidates and their position on abortion. Here are three interesting ones:
The personal is not so political
A common refrain heard in the political stratosphere is “I am personally pro-choice BUT would not vote for change because …. “(you fill in the blanks). Enter Melissa Lee, National List MP, who said at the National Council of Women’s (NCW’s) Auckland branch political forum that she was personally supportive but would not vote for liberalising the law because of the conservative Korean Christian community who she feels she represents. A very interesting point raised by one of the commenters, what about all the non-conservative Korean Christians she represents?
The flip-flop (although with a question mark)
On an NZ women in politics website (sorry can’t find the link), it was quoted that Tracey Martin, NZ First List MP, “… is pro-choice and would like to see more work done to find out ‘how women find themselves in the situation where they require these services’. Additionally, Tracey would like to see greater efforts in identifying and supplying the support services women require to avoid the need for these services altogether”. ALRANZ has traditionally supported this view of Martin and listed her in the pro-choice camp.
However, looking at Family First’s survey of candidates (and yes, this is a website worth looking at as it provides a very useful array of opinions by candidates), she is down as opposing law reform. As posited on Facebook, did someone from NZ First respond for all the candidates or has Tracey Martin flip-flopped? If someone gets the opportunity, please ask her!
The ‘why you got to be like that?’
As previously expressed in our piece on David Cunliffe (David Cunliffe and the Pro-choice Side step), we are not overly enamored with the idea of a Law Commission review. This is apparently the line that current Labour List MP and candidate in Maungakiekie, Carol Beaumont is also sticking to. Paraphrasing from her participation in the same NCW forum as Melissa Lee, Beaumont is personally supportive of law reform, but also supportive of a Law Commission review, which she believes will deliver a pro-choice outcome.
It is very disappointing to see that while Labour makes positive noises about women’s reproductive health (see the link to their Women’s Policy below), their dedication to law reform remains lukewarm.
For further reading and information, check out:
Link to the Family First page – http://valueyourvote.org.nz/2014-general-election/. Obviously look for the sad faces as these are the pro-reproductive right happy faces!
Link to Labour’s Women’s policy – https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/default/files/issues/policy-women_0.pdf . The statement about reviewing the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion (CS&A) Act is under Women’s health, reproductive health towards the end of the document.
University of Victoria’s newspaper, Salient, has a good round up of party positions on abortion – http://salient.org.nz/features/interviews-with-mps-on-womens-issues
Vote Compass, which is a collaboration between TVNZ and a series of partners, including the Election Commission that ranks your answers to a series of questions and lets you know which party most aligns with your views – http://tvnz.co.nz/votecompass .
Note there is a question on abortion, which is under the ‘moral issues’ section, asking if you would support abortion up to 20 weeks without medical approval (reinforcing both an arbitrary gestational limit with no basis in medicine and the idea that abortion is a moral, not a health issue). But at least they are asking the question, right?!
For those interested, abortion laws in South Korea are technically restrictive. Abortion is only allowed in instances of rape, incest or severe genetic disorders as per 1953 Criminal Code of the Republic of Korea (according to a 23 August 2012 article in the Guardian). However, a UN document from the Population Policy Data Bank on abortion in Korea states that abortion practice does not reflect the law, and abortion is widely available in the country. Sound familiar?
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A co-worker was really confused by the Vote Compass question, not realising the difference between “medical approval” and the certifying consultant process (obviously doctors will still need to perform the abortion process so it’d fall under the same process as other medical procedures, which I imagine has an approval process of *some* description). I thought the question was a good idea but that does worry me a bit about how it was phrased.