WelCom February 2024
New Zealand’s Catholic bishops say a rise in abortion numbers since a 2020 law change is a tragedy and they want the new coalition Government to promote policies that reduce stresses that can lead to mothers opting for abortion.
In a statement issued 18 December 2023, Bishop of Auckland Stephen Lowe, President of the NZ Catholic Bishops Conference, says the bishops will continue to advocate for the legal right to life of all unborn children who have no voice themselves.
‘We know we are living in a time of increased financial constraints and that this only adds to the stress on families. We urge the new Government to keep the wellbeing of young parents and families to the fore in their policies, and we urge all Catholics to ensure that our faith communities are places of non-judgemental, welcoming and generous love, compassion and care.’
The number of abortions peaked at 18,511 in 2003 before falling steadily to 12,823 in 2016, when an initially slow rise began, up 434 over five years to 13,257 in 2021. Then followed a big one-year jump of 907 or seven per cent to 14,164 in 2022. The number of abortions for each 1000 known pregnancies has risen to 193 from a low of 177 in 2016.
Abortion became simpler to get after members of Parliament passed the Abortion Legislation Act in 2020.
Bishop Lowe says every new human life is a gift from God and has an unconditional dignity that gives them an absolute right to life.
‘As highlighted in Te Kahu o te Ora, we all need to back up our teaching on life with action. We need to remember that our obligations and responsibilities extend to creating an environment within families and society where pregnant mothers and their partners are supported and children are made welcome. In cases where continuing a pregnancy poses challenges for those most directly involved, it is vitally important people do not see abortion as the only or most desirable possibility.
‘We will continue to advocate for the legal right to life of all unborn children who have no voice themselves. It is up to all of us to lobby to make our country a safer place for every unborn child, and that must flow through to the care and support we offer to families after birth,’ says Bishop Lowe.
‘Abortion is abusive, causing long-term harm to the mother, which is almost never addressed. It also causes damage to the father of the child, something also often not addressed, and, of course, it ends the life of a human being.’
The statement is on the bishops’ website at: catholic.org.nz/news/media-releases/abortion23/
The statement refers to (and links to) the bishops’ recent new teaching document Te Kahu o te Ora: A Consistent Ethic of Life. The bishops sent all 123 MPs a copy of Te Kahu o te Ora in December.
The statement also links to the Ministry of Health’s Abortion Services Aotearoa New Zealand 2023 Annual Report, in which the Director-General of Health appears proud of how they have increased the number of abortions, crediting the doubling of the ‘abortion workforce’, more facilities providing abortion services, increased accessibility through midwifery abortion services and new phone and online services for ‘early medical abortion’, in which women can collect an abortion pill from a pharmacy to take at home.
The post NZ bishops seek to limit abortion by supporting young families first appeared on Archdiocese of Wellington.