There’s been a bit of a run again on letters to the Southland Times about the proposed abortion services at Southland Hospital – some supporting the proposed service and some opposing it.

How inspiring is the stance by your good Dr Vili Sotutu down there in the deep south, against the increasing number of abortions – and on-demand, dress it up as you will.
A throwaway age it is indeed, where we now do just that to the miracle of the existing but yet to be born, often as a matter of indifferent convenience or the result of a chosen lifestyle of many.
How arrogant is it to use the destruction of a life as a means of post-contraception by those who opt for it and are readily catered for by professionals who have previously, with solemn faces, undertaken the Hippocratic oath?
In my 70-plus years on this planet, it is quite apparent to me that western society, aptly aided by politicians, is sliding fast to the same fate as those civilisations that have crashed before and much for the same reasons.
Don’t read me wrong. I ain’t no saint, but I, like all of us, instinctively know right from wrong.
Well done Dr Sotutu. It’s a pity that more of your profession don’t take the same stance.
Terry Harris, Mangawhai

Stay firm Southern District Health Board management. Your duty is to provide legally sanctioned medical services to Southlanders, regardless of whether all approve of these services.
Dr Sotutu’s duty is to provide the medical services your employer requires of you. If he disagrees with those services then he can exercise his right and leave.
However, the newspaper article (Saturday, August 4) left me concerned that he or other medical staff would use their positions and Southland’s difficulty in attracting medical personnel (which we’re all well aware of) as a bargaining chip to get the proposed services removed or reduced. Given their roles, this would be highly unethical and inappropriate behaviour and should not be a method to influence a decision that is not yours to make.
Decision on what services are provided and where, be it Southland, Otago, both, etc, should be made by the elected and appointed representatives on the basis of medical need, financial management, resource availability and legality… not personal moral determinates. Community engagement should be for determining supply methods and prevention/reduction … this is different to the decision on whether or not to supply a service.
For Dr Sotutu and other, unnamed, staff it is cut and dried – take a stand and resign if you disagree strongly enough or do your jobs, which may include being consulted on how to reduce need.
But do not resort to political grandstanding.
F Dean, Invercargill

As some of us continue to fight against the Southern District Health Board’s plan to start performing abortions in Invercargill in early August it is helpful to know that there is a growing trend of nurses and doctors who are not willing to be involved in such procedures.
The number of doctors in New Zealand prepared to be certifying consultants is down to 175, because of young doctors refusing to be involved.
Last year the Waikato health board contracted abortions out to the Auckland Medical Aid Centre because their own staff refused to do abortions.
Staff from AMAC now travel each week to Hamilton from Auckland to do abortions.
Southland Hospital will be no different to Hamilton Hospital as abortions will allegedly be carried out by a visiting GP certifying consultant from outside the hospital if the SDHB’s plan to start abortions goes ahead.
I commend all medical professionals and administrators who are so courageously exercising their legal right not to be involved with abortion and by their actions protect the life of the unborn.
Fr Vaughan Leslie, Otautau

The views of the Dunedin Bishop Colin Campbell are insensitive, especially to the faithful.
Many Catholic women choose to have abortions and should not be made to feel guilty about making such a personal decision for their own good reasons.
Margaret Sparrow, Wellington

Abortions are essential. For very young people, very old people. Above all drunk women.
It should be seriously illegal for a pregnant woman to drink alcohol at all.
Among the most tragic people I have ever seen are foetal-alcohol victims. Life is not fun for them.
A lifetime of awful difficulties and misery and a total expensive dependence on the taxpayer. Us. And we can’t afford it. Absolutely can’t afford it.
That money should be going to schools, pensions and the health service.
Unemployment. That doesn’t mean we need more jobs. It means too many people. And that’s what we have.
I wouldn’t vote Labour if I was being torn to pieces on the rack. However, the Labour candidate has proposed free contraception for all.
Give her an MBE at least. Maybe the Nobel Prize.
Well-read, thinking people will recognise the merit in that at a glance.
Bill English (sorry, Bill) and Eric Roy must pick this up and run with it. Push it. Taxpayers, voters, press them about that every time you can.
I interviewed four of the best brains in Te Anau, all with serious responsibilities, about the availability and counselling about contraception.
Three of them squirmed, writhed in extreme discomfort. That won’t do, folks. Get this out in the open and get the facts all right, and face the facts.
Rotary, Lions, other noble, hardworking clubs, get in good speakers, facilitate discussion groups.
If you’re going to go purple in the face, or even red, perhaps you should wear heavy masking make-up. But get real.
Jack Murrell, Manapouri

I am concerned about the apparent lack of ethical considerations shown in the Southern District Health Board’s decision to undertake abortions at Southland Hospital.
Firstly, they appear to have had no regard to the legal requirement to hae, “full regard to the rights of the unborn child”.
Secondly, the lack of any announcement of the board’s decision on a matter of great public interest was insulting to the public at large and in particular to the members of the deputation that travelled to Dunedin to present a case.
It brings no credit to the board members that the first indication of this decision came in this column in a letter from a Whangarei resident.
Thirdly, there is the claim that their decision was based on a directive from the Government when the deputy prime minister stated unequivocally that there was no such directive.
Fourthly, is the lack of consideration for the majority of hospital staff who are opposed to abortion and will have to work alongside people who are facilitating it.
Fifthly, at a time of financial difficulty, it does not seem ethical to provide a life-ending procedure at the expense of life enhancing procedures.
Finally, the board seems to have given no consideration to the effect on new mothers who will be sharing a ward with those who are having an abortion, particularly on the mothers of premature babies.
On a more positive note, it was wonderful to read your front page story on July 4 about the 10-year-old girl whose weight at birth was similar to many others whose lives have been aborted.
David McPherson, Waianiwa

The abortion debate goes on although – unfortunately for mis-informed people – there is nothing to debate.
According to Jesus Christ the coming Prince of Peace, and his law that he gave to Moses on the Mount, abortion is murder.
And, as far as I am concerned, no-one has any rights – another false manmade concept.
We only have obligations including protecting life.
Further, all those who promote and voice such garbage are already under the judgment of Christ, which will result not only in early death and sickness, but eternal fire.
What comes out of a man’s mouth defiles him, not what he eats.
The Southland Times once called the Bible, God’s handbook for life and life abundantly, “a popular book of its day”.
Sorry Fred, it still is the most popular book and more copies have been printed and burnt by haters of truth than any other book.
All men are commanded to repent and turn from their evil sinful ways and put on the mind of Christ.
We in the south hang on to the tradition of the biblical-guided settlers of this province and so have avoided the judgment of storm, flood and earthquake but we won’t if we carry on murdering 17,000 babes per annum.
Robert Rout, Invercargill
*Abridged – Editor

I have seen that the Southland Catholic Church is trying to amass support against the new abortion clinic.
My question is: if the church stops the abortion clinic from opening, how will they help the women who will be forced to go through with a pregnancy? Will the church assist these women to care for their babies or will the church revert to their old ways of forcibly taking babies and having them adopted?
I point out to the Catholic Church and the general public that the Catholic Church in Australia has, recently, admitted fault in the way it acquired babies for adoption and have offered and apology to the mothers involved.
Sue Atkinson, Auckland