Below is a selection of anti-choice letters published in the Southland Times in relation to the Southern DHB’s decision to begin  providing abortion services, and in response to the anti-choice opinion pieces that appeared following this announcement. (See this post for more information about this matter.) Most recent letters appear at the top.

If you’d like to write to the Southland Times, email your letter to: Usual rules apply: 250 words or under (shorter more likely to run usually), and include name, address and phone.

I was saddened to read the Southern District Health Board decision to begin an abortion service at Kew Hospital, especially at a time when boards are being forced to trim millions from budgets and when the Government Budget did not even cover health inflation.
During my tenure as an elected board member we received a non-clinical staff recommendation to institute this service.
We rejected it on the grounds of financial affordability, and because, along with several other competing new service proposals, it was not seen as a priority in public health or population terms.
It was also a service provided elsewhere in exactly the same travel distance as several other services we could not afford to provide.
At a time when the board is threatening local maternity services like Tuatapere with closure, and following on from the cuts to aged care, I would have thought the announcement of this new service was particularly inappropriate.
There are several other much-requested clinical services that would seem a priority to offer or expand first.
If there is additional money to spare I would also have thought it was better directed to positive action such as the prevention of unwanted pregnancies (for example, free provision of contraceptive choices) and support programmes for those who choose to keep their babies.
Has any public information been provided on the costs and staffing of this new service?
The board should be consulting with the Southland community on this decision, and on what the community sees as health priorities.
I urge it to do so.
Lesley Soper, Invercargill

In response to Rosemary Burrell’s letter, (July 4) I wish to add the findings of a leading Christchurch medical professor who has spent many years studying the impact that abortion has on mothers in the extremely sad situations that lead them to having an abortion. Professor David Fergusson, at the Christchurch School of Medicine, published a study in 2006 from which he concluded: “Our findings suggest that abortion in young women may be associated with an increased risk of mental health problems.”
What is interesting about Professor David Fergusson is that he is pro-choice.
In my own interaction with women who have gone through abortion, they experience profound brokenness and live the rest of their lives with a sense of regret that never goes away.
This is so important in light of the fact that at least 96 per cent of abortions performed in New Zealand are done on the grounds that the continuation of the pregnancy poses serious danger to the mental health of the mothers.
I join with Rosemary in applauding those health professionals who do not want a local abortion service, for having the true interests of their patients at heart.
Brendon Ward, Invercargill

As a general practitioner, I have grave concerns about the Southern District Health Board’s proposal to provide abortion services at Southland Hospital.
My birthplace and educational roots are in Southland.
I strongly oppose abortion services that are fundamentally for the sake of individual choice and desire.
Sadly, the use of an abortion service fulfils a desire to terminate the life of a human being whose birth would be inconvenient or otherwise imperfect, under the illusion of creating an ideal world.
In the real world, abortion is fed by the fundamental problems of unwanted pregnancies, dysfunctional relationships and a culture that expects parenthood to deliver perfect babies.
The Southern DHB’s plan to fund an abortion clinic in Invercargill would continue to serve the tragedy of abortion by endorsing the circumventing of dysfunctional relationships and sexual risk-taking behaviour.
The psychosocial harm of abortion is well-known. I urge the Southern DHB to reverse its decision to provide this new abortion service. Come on Southland, stand up for the culture of loving every child unconditionally whatever their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Dr Paula Cummings, Wellington

It is incorrect and misleading for the editorial (June 27) to state that the Southern District Health Board has a statutory duty to provide for abortions at the Southland Hospital.
There is no such duty imposed by the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, nor has a direction been given by the Ministry of Health.
In response to a question from a constituent, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English stated: “I have looked into this matter carefully and there is no new Government directive or statutory obligation for the Southern District Health Board to provide an abortion service at the Southland Hospital.
“It has a duty imposed by the Minister of Health to consult with the community that it serves.”
It is now reasonable to ask if the board was aware of the Government’s policies on the establishment of abortion services.
If it was not, why did it not take steps to ensure that it was properly informed about Government policy before seeking to impose a highly controversial service without consultation with the community that it serves and which did not have the support of the community and the staff the Southland Hospital?
Ken Orr, Spokesperson, Right to Life

I am horrified to hear that an abortion “service” is being forced upon the people of Southland. Abortion is no service to any woman or girl but rather a terrible abuse of her whole being, let alone that of her child.
A woman with an undesired pregnancy is in an extremely vulnerable position. I know, I’ve been there. What she needs are people who truly care for her wellbeing and that of her child.
A pushy husband, boyfriend or parents, a doctor or health professional who truly believes abortion is a good solution in her case or anyone who stands to make some ideological or financial gain out of it can strongly pressure her to abort her child.
Bus, as the old saying goes, “Once a mother, always a mother”. None of those people will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.
In my case, I am so thankful that I chose life for my little one. Some of the women I have met who chose abortion are so broken.
I strongly applaud those health professionals who do not want a local abortion service for having the true interests of their patients at heart – healing and good health.
Rosemary Burrell, Greymouth

When the argument turns to “At what stage is the developing foetus a person?” I remember my biology lessons and that the definition of a living thing is: response to stimuli.
Even a single cell responds to stimuli (eg heat, cold, toxicity, physical insult.)
So to abort is to kill.
Jo Murphy, Waikanae

I notice that the Southern District Health Board is seeking to develop an abortion service for the first time in 15 years.
Fifteen years ago we had pressure placed on us by a consultant overseas to select an abortion for our son since some tests indicated a risk of a certain disability.
We refused and our son was born healthy.
Last month he fulfilled a dream by being selected to represent New Zealand at judo.
He competed in the Oceania Games and won a bronze medal, having beaten a top Australian.
I do not put forward this apparent pro-life view because our son was born healthy but because he was born with dignity and worth.
I fear more families will not have what we have had because of this so-called health service.
Steven Entwistle, Rolleston

I am concerned that many abortion proponents are misrepresenting the law.
The claim that abortion has been legal since 1977 is untrue as the Crimes Act says that “Killing unborn child” and “Procuring abortion by any means” are punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment. What the 1977 legislation did was insert a provision which provides a defence in certain circumstances.
The defence mainly used is taht certifying consultants have said that continuation of the pregnancy would result in serious danger to the mental health of the woman.
The legal fiction is that abortion then overcomes this serious danger. No thinking person believes this.
The consultants do not refer their patients to specialists for diagnosis or treatment.
Dr Christine Roke, although advocating for an abortion service, quoted selected research and said: “The rates of mental health problems for women with an unwanted pregnancy were the same whether they had an abortion or gave birth.” In the case against the Abortion Supervisory Committee the High Court judgement said many abortions appear to be unlawful.
The law uses the word “child” and does not refer to an embryo or foetus. The preamble to the 1977 legislation says: “An act to provide for the circumstances and procedures under which abortions may be authorised after having full regard to the rights of the unborn child.”
It will be a sad day if the SDHB diverts health resources to provide such a legally doubtful procedure in our hospital.
David McPherson, Waianiwa

Animals and birds seem to me to have more protection that the human species.
The most dangerous place for a baby to be is in it’s mother’s womb!
Girls can consider having their babies given out, for those people who crave to be adoptive parents and are not fortunate enough to have their own.
Marie Laughton, Invercargill

Concerning abortion, I sometimes wonder who goes through the most pain: an aborted baby or the full-term babies (usually girls) the Eskimos sometimes threw to the dogs. Are we, in this century, more humane?
There are at least two victims in the act of abortion: the baby and the mother, who may struggle to find peace later on.
I admire those involved in Voice for Life, Pregnancy Help and those who support, in a professional way, those who may be struggling after an abortion.
Kathleen Morrison, Invercargill

It has been said if you put a frog into cold water and heat it gradually, it will stay there and boil to death.
If we gradually become accustomed to accepting a culture of death to solve life’s difficulties, then we are being deceived.
To contravene the Hippocratic oath is to fly in the face of the God-given sacredness of human life.
When we have a law that protects penguins, sharks and seals and a law that allows the taking of an unborn child’s life, then we have changed the truth of God into a lie.
Worship of the creature has taken pre-eminence over protecting human life at the most vulnerable stage.
Ken Stuart, Invercargill

Our Southern District Health Board is advertising for someone to head up and lead an outpatient department at Kew hospital to kill unborn babies.
They call this a health service, but it does nothing for the health of the very much alive unborn baby.
They are wanting someone who has trained to make their patients physically well, to now take on the role of exterminator.
The management have stated they will fully support this person in their mission of death.
No support at all for the young lives they are targeting.
It is sad to see the management team of our great hospital stoop to such low depths.
Could I suggest that the word “Health” be removed from the Southern District Health Board’s name.
Allistair Meikle, Gore

I would like to add my voice to those who oppose the decision of the Southern District Health Board management to provide abortions in Southland from this month.
The pro-choice say that a woman has a right to do what she wishes with her own body, speaking here of the child in her womb.
But is it entirely her own body, when the male sperm forms an essential part of the child in her womb? I think not.
No male sperm, no child in her womb! How often does the mother of the child consult the wishes of the father?
Talking of rights, what about the rights of the defenceless child in the womb?
It seems here that might is right! I deplore the decision of Southern DHB management and strongly urge them to take seriously the commandment: Thou shalt not kill.
John N Vincent

The impending decision to re-establish the ability to perform abortion within Southern District Health Board is very disappointing, given that if one objectively looks at the research across the world, there is beginning to be clear evidence that abortions affect the mental well-being of the mother.
The long-term effects of this on both the well-being of the mother and society as a whole would be substantial.
What the medical facilities within the southern region should be investing into is how to offer support to mothers and provide good unbiased information on what their options are (which is not currently available through existing facilities) rather than concentrating on only one troubled solution.
In addition, the decision to provide abortions within the board’s district is ethically and morally wrong. Therefore, we urge the management within the board to reconsider this avenue.
Miles & Lenyi Roper, Greymouth

Over the past few weeks there has been a great number of letters to the editor in relation to the management of Southland Hospital planning to start performing abortions in Invercargill.
Most letters have been opposed to this taking place and those in favour have largely come from outside Southland.
I personally dislike people from outside our region saying what should happen in our hospital.
If you, like me, and many others, support the life of the unborn and want to send this message to the Southern DHB then join the deputation which will be attending the board’s next meeting on Thursday, July 5, 10am at Wakari Hospital Dunedin in the boardroom.
This deputation is being led by Southlanders for Life and the meeting is open to the public.
Democracy is only alive so long as people have the courage to speak and stand up for what they believe in.
Those of us who have been given the gift of life need to support it if only out of a sense of gratitude for what we have received from our parents.
For more information email:
Fr Vaughan Leslie, Otautau

I’ve been reading and understanding the many arguments for and against abortion services at Southland Hospital during the past few weeks. I now seems clear to me that there are some tragic ironies involved with this issue.
Two of the more popular arguments in favour of abortions are that it is already legal so stop arguing, and a woman has a right to terminate a life.
Yes, there are actual situations in which a woman’s life requires the need for an abortion, and where a woman’s mental health is truly in danger if she proceeds with the birth, but 17,000-plus per year?
Honestly if there are this many women in such physical and mental danger each year in New Zealand, then ironically we have a bigger problem than abortion.
But can we fool ourselves that there are not abortions because a lifestyle is impeded?
Is this what women (including my great-grandmother) actually fought for – a self-centred and conscience-free lifestyle? Yes, the abortion legislation is necessary, but we should demand it be tightened.
Others have suggested opponents should be more concerned with the issue of child abuse, instead of abortion. Ironically, can people not see the hypocrisy between these statements – abortion is violence against unborn children.
Finally, as a few proponents have pointed out, there are many men against the service. Well, ironically, these men seem to be very much in favour of not only supporting a baby’s life, but a woman’s future health also. To be honest, all I see on the other side of this argument are mainly women standing up for a political right.
If we support more than 17,000 babies’ deaths per year, then how can we stand up properly for women’s rights, or against child violence, with any real self-respect, integrity or humanity?
W Brent Coats, Invercargill

Margaret Sparrow’s letter of Monday, June 11, was headed, “Abortion is safe”, and she cites the fact that there have been no deaths of mothers from the 338,961 procedures in the past 32 years. Thankfully, that statistic is comforting.
What she does not acknowledge, however, is the death of 338,961 babies that have been surgically removed from the wombs of these mothers who should have been allowed to grow to full term in the safest place of their lives.
Also being ignored is the sad fact that most women struggle to come to terms – post-abortion – with the realisation that their decisions have caused a loss of life.
This is, in effect, post-traumatic stress.
And now we read that the Southern District Health Board is proposing to set up a clinic within our hospital for easier access for women to have abortion. This, in a facility where the ethic is, “First do no harm”.
With 338,961 abortions in 32 years, can we really believe that this number of mothers’ lives were in danger? Do we dare to think that these procedures are another form of contraception?
The death of 338,961 tiny lives is not a statistic we should applaud.
Ann Baron, Invercargill

I find it somewhat telling that nearly all the letters supporting the opening of an abortion clinic at Southland Hospital seem to be coming from people outside the district (namely the North Island), while the bulk of letters opposing the clinic are from local Southland people.
Should not the hospital be listening to its local community?
Chris O’Brien, Christchurch

I am absolutely supportive of a woman’s right to choose in the area of reproductive rights.
For almost 50 years I have been a part of, or watching, the liberalists, feminists, protests and other pests, ranting equality and freedom.
But any choice will only be an appropriate choice if all the relevant information is provided.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, Family Planning, the consultants, the school sex educationalists, and other marketers of the abortion process and pills, work together to discredit valid research, and bury any information that reveals the harmful effects of abortion.
The potential medical side-effects, mental trauma, subsequent substance abuse and suicidal tendencies are not negligible, they are very serious.
Rather than saying that women are stigmatised for wanting an abortion, ALRANZ should wonder why women are stigmatised for speaking against such a harmful procedure.
A dedicated pro-choice person with real concerns for women’s health should be doing everything in their power to prevent the opening of yet another slaughterhouse in Southland.
Steve Jaunay, Whangarei

I, too, do not think human life should be aborted at Southland Hospital and paid for by the taxpayer. We are continually told we are living in 2012 and have many things to pay for, and responsibility for ourselves and others.
People waiting on long lists for surgery must be thought of. An abortion, if it is to be, must be a private-hospital affair.
A woman does not have complete right to her body if she is pregnant; there is another person involved here. The unborn baby should be thought of too. What does it feel as pain?
There are couples here wanting to adopt children, and adoption has changed over the years. Mr MacLean, there are a lot of Southland women grateful for your care over the years, and support you on the stand you are taking.
To the farmer who has a cow aborted, all for the mighty dollar mostly – please get real: the cow and her calf do suffer and neither have a say.
J Whyte, Gore

With regard to the ongoing debate surrounding abortions being available locally in Invercargill, let’s put morals and ethics aside for now.
Not that they are unimportant, but I would rather focus on the practicalities for a moment.
For years, Southlanders have been fundraising and petitioning for neuro services to remain available down south.
It seems there is not enough money in the various medical piggy banks to fund this critical service for people who are urgently in need of it to save their lives, or enable them to lead better-quality lives. These are often people who are suffering pain daily and heavily medicated in an attempt to enjoy some comforts while they wait for their surgery.
It seems perfectly feasible in the minds of the decision-makers that these poor people and their supporters make the expensive trip to Dunedin or Christchurch for the long costly stay and recuperation involved in these types of surgeries. And yet it seems feasible to these same financial decision makers that perfectly healthy people, who just happen to have an unwanted pregnancy, need the privilege of having their inconvenience dealt with locally.
They won’t have to travel in discomfort to Dunedin, and within a day or less are post-operatively well enough to come home. I am sure the cost of establishing this service locally outweighs the $100 for fuel that pregnant women will have to pay to get to Dunedin for the day.
When 95 per cent (or more) of these unwanted pregnancies are easily prevented by free contraception, we find money is being taken away from services for people who had no choice with regards suffering from their medical conditions (brain tumours, etc).
I am sure if the money they intend spending to start up and run the abortion clinic down here was attributed to the neuro fund, our community would have much less money to raise.
Diane Scheepers, Invercargill

Having six beautiful daughters, two of whom were delivered by the most dear and honourable Dr Norman MacLean, a man who was highly recommended by many folk as an excellent obstetrician, I was filled with joy when accepted as one of his patients.
The dedication of this man to deliver so many of our citizens, working tirelessly and bringing much joy to mothers, amazes me.
So I and my household will listen when he speaks in honour of life, for he is worthy and he knows all the consequences of this proposal on our dear mothers and community.
Have you ever wept when you lost a loved one?
Well, I believe there is much weeping going on over the thousands who are lost.
Those who never get the chance to live. The singer, the dancer, the poet, the dentist, the doctor, the farmer, the friend, the companion, the musician, the Olympian, the All Black and All White. The list would go on and on, and then there is you and me as well. Let us all live; it is the right choice.
Diane Lepoamo, Invercargill

I wish to thank Dr Morgan Healey, the president of the Abortion Law Reform Association, for the opportunity she has afforded me to clarify some of the risks to the mother of induced children.
Dr Peter Sykes, a respected Christchurch Gynaecological specialist reported an overall re-admission rate of 5.8 per cent following abortion.
The Health Ministry reported that 877 women were re-admitted to hospitals in New Zealand between 2009 and 2011.
These figures are only the tip of the iceberg because they do not include patients treated by general practitioners or emergency departments, and do not include long-term complications.
Many articles have been written in the scientific literature suggesting the possiblity of an increased risk of breast cancer following a termination of pregnancy.
In the reputable American Journal Obstetrical and Gynaecological survey, January 2003, we read “women contemplating their first induced abortion early in their reproductive life should be informed that they will lose the protective effect of a full-term delivery on their lifetime risk of breast carcinoma”.
Professor David Fergusson of Christchurch published an article in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology on mental health and abortion and concluded: “those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems”.
During September 2011 Professor Priscilla Coleman published in the British Journal of Psychiatry a study involving 877,181 women and concluded:
“The results revealed a moderate to high increased risk of mental-health problems after abortion. When compared to unintended pregnancy delivered, women who terminated had a 55 per cent increased risk of experiencing any mental-health problem.”
Norman MacLean

With regard to abortions being offered at Southland Hospital, several of your contributors to this column have missed the point in my opinion.
I agree hospitals are to be doing all they can to ensure the health of our people in this country.
In a just society, this must include the unborn.
The health of the pregnant woman is of great importance as is the child she carries in her womb. Let’s be clear about something: the living soul a woman carries is not merely a foetus. We say: “She’s having a baby” not “She’s having a foetus”.
No fair-minded person would want the life of the woman placed in jeopardy. Likewise we would not want the life of the baby she carries placed in jeopardy.
My sources within the health sector assure me that very few abortions in this country are carried out because of a serious threat to the mother’s health, physical or emotional.
In my professional experience, I have dealt with many would-be mothers and fathers, who after aborting their children, have suffered severe emotional distress, which in many cases has caused those people years of pain and anguish.
The grief and suffering for the adults leading on from abortion quickly outweighs the relief experienced once an unwanted child is dispensed with. If the health decision makers in this province allow expedient abortions at the cost of the long-term health of the adults involved in conceiving the child, then I believe this is a very short-term view.
I would be willing to debate this issue with any health board member who was prepared to accept the challenge.
Maybe some of those who didn’t show up at the public meeting to discuss this matter could make themselves available this time around and enter into conversation with concerned citizens who, at the end of the day, they are in their roles to serve.
David Elder

The practice of inducing (aborting) dairy cows in New Zealand is being phased out with the last inductions this spring.
The managed induction of dairy cows became widespread because, under the correct conditions, it is economically advantageous, simplifies management and is relatively safe.
However, in response to public abhorrence to the practice, inductions in the dairy industry will not be permissible after this year.
While I come in contact with many dairy farmers who have or do make use of inductions for economic or management reasons, I have yet to find one who likes the practice or would defend it on moral or ethical grounds.
Anyone who has had the responsibility of collecting and disposing of the premature calves will have had their hearts torn and I know of women who refuse to perform the task.
In New Zealand, we have modern effective contraception available on request which allows a person to follow whatever social behaviour is desired.
If an unplanned pregnancy results and is taken to full term, there is a Government-funded social network which is available to help.
If a baby is unwanted, I understand that there are more families wanting to adopt than babies available for adoption.
Why in this environment are we planning to make abortions more available?
I doubt that a case for abortion on request can be made on ethical or moral grounds in New Zealand today.
The dairy industry is eliminating the practice because it is self-serving and abhorrent.
So on what grounds do we propose to expand the practice to Southland Hospital?
Chris Herud, Winton

A woman who welcomes the life of the baby growing inside her does not talk about “my embryo” or “my foetus”, but “my baby”, for that is indeed what it will grow to be – a human baby.
It is a small masterpiece hidden in secret in the sanctity of the womb. That little speck of life is undetectable until blood tests confirm its beginning.
With the advances of science a woman can detect her fertility and plan for a baby with her husband. However, it seems, as humans, we are flawed and cannot control our sexual desires, or in the case of rape, a man cannot master his desires or his need to control.
These are not reasons to tear apart the life begun.
Why is hitting a child for correction and its own safety, against the law? (Note I did not say beat a child.) Yet killing a baby in the womb by abortion is not?
Abortion is not the answer to an unplanned pregnancy.
As for the majority of mental-health grounds, there must be an awful lot of mentally unstable women out there.
If a loving and compassionate answer for life cannot be found, to help during the pregnancy and after the child is born, or adopt, as a society we are doomed. We have become a “me” society – “my” rights without responsibilities.
There are 11 wonderful people in my family who would not be here if abortion had been the answer after I was conceived.
B Adnitt, Gore

If your neighbour was having a really hard time of it as we all sometimes do, as parents – to the point where you feared for the life of the child – you would stand by her and you would do everything you could to help her.
Just because the child isn’t born yet doesn’t change these facts.
Prolifers, and I am one of them, need to make sure people know that we are not just putting our hands on our hips and saying, “Abortion is wrong – don’t do it”. We need to put our money, our time and our back where our mouth is.
We need to make sure we recognise the difficulties that are obviously arising in the mother’s life because of an unplanned pregnancy, and to offer alternatives and compassion.
C Kinley, Winton

Dame Margaret Sparrow has done very well out of the abortion industry.
She worked as an abortionist at Wellington Hospital for 17 years and was paid very well by the New Zealand taxpayer.
She can say until she is blue in the face that abortion is one of the most common and safest gynaecological procedures.
However, for the more than 409,221 potential little New Zealanders aborted from 1975 until the present time, it was certainly not safe for them.
That is the equivalent of the combined populations of Whangarei, New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Nelson, Greymouth, Hokitika, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Southern Lakes District and Gore.
Dame Margaret served as president of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand until May 2011, and she is dedicated to the total decriminalisation of abortion in New Zealand.
Her tongue can trip lightly over the 338,961 abortions she says were carried out since 1980 because they are simply “products of conception”.
The Abortion Law Reform Association’s intention is to campaign for a New Zealand version of the Abortion Law Reform Act passed by the Victoria State Government in 2008, which allows abortions to be performed up until the ninth month of pregnancy, making Victoria’s abortion laws among the most permissive in the world.
“Scare tactics” is what Dame Margaret calls those who draw attention to the dangers of abortion and who want to protect the child in the womb.
She calls this “outrageous”.
I call these people decent human beings, who are a voice for all these silent and innocent little children.
Madeline McGilvray, Myross Bush

In reply to Shirley Goodwin, we who are complaining about the possibility of abortions being carried out at Southland Hospital are very concerned about child abuse.
That is why we are spending our time and energy working to stop abortions at Kew.
We see abortions as child abuse of the worst kind – abuse of a helpless child in its mother’s womb.
Gerald Dyer, Invercargill
(Abridged – Editor)

Contrary to pro-abortionists’ profound illogic, a woman does not have the right to do what she pleases with her own body. Neither does a man, for that matter.
I am not permitted to use my body to murder or steal. Neither does anyone have the inherent right to destroy an unborn child.
The law is wrong if it does not protect and uphold the value of life so, if abortion is legal, the law must change.
Abortion on demand, as is current practice in New Zealand, is a reversion to barbaric antiquity that no modern human should tolerate any longer.
Most ancient cultures, such as Roman, Greek and Chinese, practised abortion, infanticide and abandonment, as well as various forms of euthanasia, because life was valued only according to its contribution to some idealism.
I trust we are wiser than they were, valuing life as a gift.
Peter Van Den Brink

One of your recent correspondents wrote very disrespectfully about doctor Norman MacLean.
If this person is able to give one thousandth of the care and concern that Mr MacLean has to the mothers and babies of Southland then he/she could count themselves a good person.
The decision to continue with an unwanted pregnancy is momentous. So is the decision to terminate one.
At least giving life to her child is some consolation to the mother; as another correspondent stated there are many couples wanting to adopt a baby. The aftermath of a termination may be no less traumatic for the woman.
In my experience, any future wanted pregnancies may be made more difficult and anxious by a previous termination.
As Mr MacLean said, there are circumstances when a termination is necessary. The abortion law lays down strict criteria for this. The problem occurs in the liberal interpretation of the law, and has led to many women having four or more terminations for failure of contraception.
Abortion on demand was never the intention of the lawmakers.
A C Clarke

It is disappointing that the members of the Southern District Health Board declined an invitation to be present at the public meeting.
The board has no legal obligation to establish an abortion clinic at Southland Hospital.
There is nothing in the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 that makes it mandatory for a DHB to apply for, or to hold a licence for, performing abortions, nor is there a direction from the Health Minister.
The Southern DHB has a duty imposed by the Government to provide an “abortion service”; this is provided in Dunedin.
There are actually seven other DHBs in New Zealand whose communities don’t want abortions. Women seeking them are sent elsewhere.
The Southern DHB is imposing abortions, posing as a health service on the community.
The board has a duty to consult with the community that it serves. The Public Consultation Guidelines for District Health Boards issued by the Health Ministry in December 2011, state that: “As a general rule, it is wise to consult where a decision has significant public consequences or a major impact on the community to which the decision relates.”
Why then is the board not consulting?
Ken Orr, Spokesperson, Right to Life

On behalf of Southlanders For Life may I sincerely thank the more than 200 citizens who came out on a cold winter’s night and attended the public meeting at the Ascot Park Hotel arranged to allow views to be expressed and questions to be asked regarding the proposed plan of the Southern DHB to introduce abortion procedures in Southland.
It was unfortunate that no board members or management staff attended because many questions were unable to be answered.
Following extensive discussion the following motion was put to the meeting and agreed unanimously, with no single person voting against, that “the public meeting of concerned Southland citizens earnestly implores the Southern DHB to listen to the community views and reverse the planned decision of its management to introduce an abortion service in Southland”.
We believe the planned service is contrary to the first statutory purpose of the board to improve and protect the health of the population.
We also believe the board has an obligation to engage with the community in the planning of new services.
We are confident the board members will listen to the voice of the people and reverse the initial plan.
We look forward to presenting a deputation and petition to the board at its next meeting in Dunedin on July 5.
Norman E MacLean, Chairman, Southlanders for Life

I was shocked to hear that Southland Hospital has decided to introduce an abortion service. I feel this is morally wrong.
With the excellent maternity and neo-natal service that is provided at Southland Hospital it dismays me to think of abortion procedures being carried out on healthy babies alongside dedicated staff doing their best to save at-risk babies fighting for their lives.
We are closely involved with a woman who would have given anything to adopt one of the babies whose lives have been terminated and I ask the question, “Is adoption not a far more cost-effective way of treating infertility than the huge cost of infertility treatments?”
One woman does not want her baby and another woman desperately does want that same child if it were possible.
Disposing of the child is not the only way of solving an unwanted pregnancy and a service that helps a woman through the pregnancy and the giving up of the baby for adoption is a healthy and positive way of dealing with the problem.
Another concern for me is the loose interpretation of the term “serious risk to the mental health of the mother”. No doubt there are occasions when termination of a pregnancy is necessary, but it seems to me there is hardly any thought given to the behaviour that produces the pregnancy and abortion is a means for some women of simply getting rid of a troublesome consequence.
The unborn child has a right to protection from the same society that gives the right to justice to an infant murdered after birth, and I wish to speak on behalf of a sector of our society who cannot speak for themselves. The womb should be the one place in the world where someone can be safe.
Let it be so in Southland.
Margaret Herud, Winton

Unfortunately, M Sparrow (June 11) has got it right on a number of issues.
Yes, abortion is common in New Zealand (killing around 17,000 to 18,000 babies a year).
This has added up to more than 338,961 babies aborted in 30-plus years, or around the population of Christchurch wiped out.
These were potential taxpayers.
M Sparrow may also be right about no maternal deaths being attributed to abortion.
But in every abortion there is a death – that of the baby.
And there are often problems after abortion for the mother.
These range from depression, bleeding, perforated uterus, relationship problems, infertility, premature labour in subsequent pregnancies, and breast cancer, to name a few.
Is M Sparrow unaware that 877 women were admitted to hospital because of complications after their abortions between 2009 and 2011?
This represents 1047 bed days at the taxpayers’ expense.
Childbirth is a proven safer option than abortion.
Abortion is an industry in which women are exploited by not being told the truth, or by not being given all the options.
The people involved are paid to do this.
Yes, it is a money-maker.
Who pays their wages?
The taxpayer of course. We get to pay twice, once for the abortion, then to pick up the pieces later as well.
Do we want this happening at Southland Hospital?
Lynley Morrison, Winton

It is interesting that pro-abortionists have already had the chance to live. Thankfully, so have I…
My mother found herself pregnant with me in very difficult circumstances.
She was faced with secrecy, shame, loss of friends, wagging tongues, finger pointing and extreme pressure and hardship that abounded in those days.
Abortion was an easy and quick option that would have saved her from all the above stress, but she withstood all the pressure and gave me the gift of life.
Her family stood staunchly by her and welcomed me with love.
I thank God for the awesome love of my wonderful, precious, selfless mother, who chose not to abort me, but to let me live.
Women in similar circumstances need our support and protection and Southland has many organisations who can help.
I was 53 years old when I learned of my escape from death. I have now been reunited with a whole new family in the United Kingdom.
So, to anyone facing the same pressures that my mother faced, adoption is another option if you can’t keep your child.
Y I Evans, Winton

This is indeed the 21st century and there should be no need for abortions.
Morning-after pills, sexual devices and other methods like sterilisation are available to prevent unwanted birth. What appears to be overlooked with all the hype about our rights is that they come with our responsibilities.
Society is not responsible for your actions or lifestyle, but too often picks up the bill even for a person’s repeated abortions.
Grow up, we are in the 21st century.
Think about the consequences before you undertake anything and be responsible.
Prevention is always better than attempted cures.
D McPherson, Waianiwa

Margaret Sparrow writes that 338,961 women have had abortions without the loss of a single mother.
Sadly, at least 338,961 babies lost their lives in the process.
Cliff Nicol, Kapuka

I would like to thank The Southland Times for its initial article which informed us that the Southland District Health Board was planning to provide abortion services here in Invercargill.
The subsequent letters have also helped to raise our awareness of abortions in New Zealand.
We are quick to broadcast about and then help victims of Christchurch earthquakes, Pike river mine, road deaths, child abuse cases, the Weekes Triplet deaths, etc, so, Southland, let’s start to be concerned enough to do something for the 300-odd babies killed each week in New Zealand – and their families.
Why are unborn children not given the same rights as they get once born?
With modern science it is very clear pre-birth babies are as much human as post-birth.
As Y Evans commented on Saturday, it is shocking that currently a lot of New Zealanders are more concerned about cow abortions that human deaths.
Several people have commented about abortion being a woman’s right, well this currently is not even the case in New Zealand. They are supposed to be only done for health reasons.
Those concerned about this issue, please attend the public meeting on Thursday 14, 7.30pm at the Ascot, and show the Southland District Health Board its money could more appropriately be spent on services for the sick or elderly.
Perhaps the Government also needs to be reminded that in allowing 300 citizens to be killed each week it is losing the potential of $10 billion tax revenue each year.
Grant Meyer, Invercargill

Let’s suppose that a person shoots dead, in cold blood, another who is thwarting their aspirations, their life ambitions and plans.
Sonia Green (June 6) would, presumably, have no issue with that. After all, it’s the individual’s choice when it comes to matters of life and death. Linzi Keen (June 6), would likewise, presumably, have no issue with such a loss of life, if such a shooting was legal.
The fact is that we don’t live our lives in isolation from others, and we can’t please ourselves on matters of what is right and wrong, merely lawful and unlawful.
If a (wanted and expected) baby is born very prematurely, say, at twenty-four weeks, medical attendants will do everything they can to save the baby’s life.
I assume that they deem the baby to be a living, sensing human being, whose life is worth saving.
What if the same baby (but this time not wanted by the mother) comes into the world at 18 weeks?
Will medical attendants still do everything they can to save this life?
I can’t see the difference.
A life in or out of the womb, very young or very old is worth valuing and saving, that after all, is the vocation of doctors, nurses and medical attendants. (Or am I just being “antiquated”/old-fashioned as well)?
Derrick Hills, Invercargill

Sandra Robinson’s (letters May 22) declaration that the discussion about finishing babies’ lives is over will be contended until judgement day.
It will only end when Jesus Christ returns to Earth to hold the day of reckoning.
He will decide once and for all what is right and what is wrong.
The cruel and savage brutal murdering of a tiny thumbsucking baby in his mother will finally cease. Then the debate will be finished for eternity for these atrocities. There will be no more anguish, no more sorrow, no more tears of trauma. So our hospital is to become a place of life and death.
Life giving and life taking at the hands of “doctors” cannot co-exist in a medical facility. Yes, it is law in our nation but it is an evil law.
In 1939 Germany had evil laws that endorsed the mass gassing of God’s people the Jews. Daniel opposed an evil law that prohibited prayer to the only one God and was saved from the furnace. In New Zealand we have several evil laws that oppose God’s ways.
The worst is a licence to abort a wee baby. But in the legislation in heaven it is a capital offence to murder a baby before he is born. That law will never change.
Perhaps the worst thing though, in God’s eyes, is the lack of fervent fiery importunate prayer about it, by professing church pastors and leaders. I have never heard of a special prayer meeting held by a pastor about this matter.
Alastair MacDonald, Gore

It was most heart-warming to have more than 400 people turn up outside our Southland Hospital this past Sunday to stand for life and against the Southern District Health Board’s plan to perform abortions in Southland.
Even though it was only about 7 degrees Celsius, the atmosphere was warm, with a great mixture of people of all ages and backgrounds, with most passing motorists offering positive waves and hoots on the horn in support.
All who braved the conditions are to be congratulated.
A public meeting is planned for Thursday, June 14, so keep an eye on this paper for advertisements in the coming days.
Father Vaughan Leslie, Otautau