On Sunday 3 June, anti-choice advocates held a protest, organised by a local Catholic priest, outside Kew Hospital in Invercargill against Southern District Health Board’s plans to provide a local abortion service for Southland women, (scan of the write-up in The Southland Times below; click on it to expand) who currently have to travel to Dunedin for abortion care. (Until the Christchurch earthquake, women had to travel there for care.) ALRANZ supports the move, and it’s sad to see the protesters wanting to punish Southland women by making them travel long distances for reproductive healthcare they should be getting in their local area. A pro-choice supporter who attended the rally against all the odds (she’s our new hero!) filed this report:

The protestors were mostly church people, including a group that drove down from Gore. There were a lot of older people, but a fair number of young people as well, wandering around singing about the army of God rising up, etc. There were two women next to me who talked about how in America they do abortions at 7 months but they didn’t think we did that in NZ.

Southland Times coverage of 3 June 2012 anti-abortion protest in Invercargill.

A former obstetrician who is a Right to Life patron was at the rally. I had a few words with him towards the end of the protest. He thanked me for coming, and I said, “you’d better have a look at my sign first” (which said “I’m a mum, by choice, for choice” and “If you won’t trust me with a choice, why would you trust me with a child?”). He said all opinions were welcome. I said that unlike him I wasn’t trying to force my opinion on others, and he said he didn’t have the right to drive on the right side of the road. I said that that was illegal, but abortion is legal. He said that it’s not, only in certain circumstances. I replied that it’s legal, but you have to convince two specialists that your mental health will be damaged, but he didn’t seem to believe me. He said: “No, I know – I’ve practised.” I didn’t know who he was at that point.

He then said something about abortion being damaging to a woman’s mental health, and I said, “Are you saying it’s not damaging to a woman’s mental health to be forced to carry a pregnancy she doesn’t want to term?” He said “No” and I got a bit angry and said, “What, have you done that then?” And he scoffed, and I was really uncomfortable at this point (I’m big on conflict avoidance and really bad at arguing because it upsets me so much) so I just said let’s agree to disagree, and we left it at that.

There have been a lot of letters in The Southland Times on the issue. Mostly outraged that our hospital of healing will be turned into a den of death, or something. The occasional one in support. I haven’t been brave enough to write in, and I don’t think there’s much point because the anti- letters are mostly either emotional (killing the babies!) or religious (Jesus will judge us if we let this happen). It’s a shame they don’t put the letters online like they used to, so pro-choice supporters could write in reply if they wanted.

I don’t want to be presumptuous, because I’m sure this is happening all over the country all the time, but I’d like to just type one letter for you so if anyone thinks it worth replying to, they can. It’s just full of the sort of misinformation that the protest crowd likes.

This was from Monday 4th’s Southland Times:

Shirley Goodwin spoke of child abuse, specifically that letter writers on the subject of abortion ‘could better spend their time and energy supporting groups who have to deal with child abuse’. It is a well-documented fact that after abortion, many other things can happen to the woman, as a result of having the abortion. To name a few of these, they are haemorrhage, depression, infertility, premature labour (in a subsequent pregnancy), breast cancer, and also, she is more likely to abuse and mistreat other children born to her.

Abortion is the ultimate form of child abuse when the child doesn’t even make it out of the womb alive.

In a surgical abortion, the child’s limbs are pulled off and removed, one by one, the torso is removed and finally, the head after being crushed, is removed.

Is this not legalised murder?

Lynley Morrison


If you’d like to write to the Southland Times, email your letter to:  letters@stl.co.nz

Usual rules apply: 250 words or under (shorter more likely to run usually), and include name, address and phone. If you’d like to take any other action or live in the area and would like to make contact with other pro-choice supporters, email us at safeandlegalgmail.com