Goodwill between groups ruined by pro-life bully-boy

Smiles, conversations, muffins and Christmas treats were exchanged between Southlanders for Life and ALRANZ members at the weekly protest/counter protest today at Southland Hospital. I can hear you thinking what the heck – but hey, it’s Christmas. Norman McLean, head of Southlanders for Life and I have managed to defuse much of the tension between the two groups over the last month, and it is fantastic to protest without threat of harassment.

That is, until a Gore Southlander for Life arrived.

Not content with having a respectful conversation, he positioned his face mere inches away from a fellow protester and began haranguing her, demanding answers to one of the usual circular arguments about when a baby becomes a living human being. We reminded him that that was not the issue – the issue was choice. He seemed only concerned with the rights of the child in the womb, so I asked him exactly what he was going to do to support these children after their birth – did he think of these children being abused, neglected, growing up in poverty?

His reply astounded me. He said it was the mother’s responsibility to make sure she was ready to be a mother when she got pregnant (heard of accidents, rape, etc?), that NZ is a perfect country where no child misses out, and that even if the child was abused, he/she should have the strength to become a functional member of society anyway, as he/she had……….. CHOICES.

After reminding him that our abuse rates are through the roof, and that 300,000 Kiwi children are living in poverty, he got in my face and asked me what I would do to stop child poverty. Nothing, he reckoned.

I’m a Green politician who campaigns on child poverty, is involved in multiple community groups, has 10 years experience as a child abuse & family violence survivor advocate, etc, etc. I’m certainly the wrong person to accuse of doing nothing. And I told him so.

He began mumbling rude nonsense and stormed off.


Traffic was much quieter around the hospital today, with half as many cars as last week. Both groups received equal support. They sat on DHB land again, we on public property at the entrance. It would have been nice to see the media, but no luck there, again.

We were visited by an amazing and inspiring grandmother who came out to show her support. She shared some deep and tragic family secrets with us, which was incredibly brave. Her story certainly highlighted why abortion is necessary for medical reasons, and in situations of family violence. We don’t know your name, but if you’re reading this, kia kaha and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for talking to us.

Both sides are taking a break over Christmas and New Years, but we’ll be back mid January.

As long as they protest, so will we.

Rachael Goldsmith

ALRANZ Southland spokesperson