To every MP, from the undersigned National Church Leaders gathered today in Wellington
Tēnā koutou. Today, 17 March 2020, the national leaders of most New Zealand church denominations gathered together in Wellington, within sight of Parliament. We want to say to every MP: we urge you to look deep into your own moral conscience, and to vote against the Abortion Law “Reform” Bill at its final reading.
We acknowledge that a decision to seek an abortion is often a lonely and agonising choice for a woman, and that the aim of this Bill is to streamline access to abortion and reduce its stigma. We recognise there are complexities in the abortion issue. We do, however, see any abortion as a tragedy for all concerned.
The profound and pervasive flaw of this Bill is that it erases all consideration for the human worth of the unborn child, and (unlike the current legislation) makes no attempt to balance the needs of mother and child and to give at least some protection to the unborn. The Bill defies the obvious, scientifically incontestable reality that the unborn are living, beating-heart, human babies. Societies which practice great oppression often first dehumanise those they mistreat, asserting they are not really human, so killing them is therefore acceptable. Unwittingly, the Bill echoes that same chilling pattern: it assumes that unwanted unborn are neither human nor valuable and that their death is therefore of no consequence; their death is minimalised as just a “health” procedure for the mother, in which the real victim is determinedly overlooked.
The intent of the Bill may well be to advance women’s autonomy or health. But we believe its primary effect will be to further normalise unspeakable abuse and death against society’s most innocent, vulnerable and voiceless members, the unborn. We believe all human life is a sacred taonga, a priceless gift from God. Justice and compassion requires that we should allow the unborn to be safely born and to live the life they have been given. Those in great authority have a God-given responsibility to help protect everyone, especially those most vulnerable; to legislate instead to facilitate their death is culpably wrong.
And so, in the name of God, and of justice and compassion, and for the sake of future generations, we the undersigned national church leaders join with a vast number of other caring New Zealanders and implore you to exercise true conscience and to vote against this highly unbalanced and unjust Bill.
Rev Charles Hewlett
Bishop Mark Whitford
On behalf of the following National Church Leaders…
Pastor Adam White, Leader, New Life Churches
Pastor Boyd Ratnajara, National Leader, Elim Church of New Zealand
Pastor Peter Mortlock, Senior Pastor, City Impact Church
Rev Setaita Taumoepeau Veikune, President, Methodist Church of New Zealand
Pastor Steve Burgess, Regional Overseer / Senior Leader, C3 Churches
Cardinal John Dew, Archbishop of Wellington, Roman Catholic Church
Rev Andrew Marshall, National Director, Alliance Churches of New Zealand
Brent Liebezeit, President, Christian Churches New Zealand
Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand (personal support)
Pastor David Macgregor, National Director, Vineyard Churches
Bishop Jay Behan, Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa New Zealand
Charles Hewlett, National Leader, Baptist Churches of New Zealand
Rev Tale Hakeagaiki, Chairman, Congregational Union of New Zealand
Pastor Eddie Tupa’i, President, New Zealand Pacific Union Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
Pastor Iliafi Esera, Senior Pastor, Assemblies of God New Zealand
Rev Brett Jones, National Superintendent, Wesleyan Methodist Church of New Zealand
Rev Dr Stuart Lange, National Director, New Zealand Christian Network
Rev Dr Jaron Graham, National Superintendent, Church of the Nazarene
Bishop Mark Whitfield, Lutheran Church of New Zealand