More than 90% of the submissions on the Abortion Legislation Bill have rejected the proposed decriminalisation of abortion, with just under 8% supporting the Government bill.
The in-depth analysis of a random sample of 1,000 submissions by an independent researcher found that 90.6% of submissions were opposed. This means that over 18,000 submissions in total rejected the abortion bill, compared to less than 2,000 in support. Almost 2/3rds of all individual submitters were women. Medical doctors, nurses and healthcare workers who submitted as individuals were also about 90% opposed.
Less than 7% of submissions made any reference to religious arguments. This is not to say that only 7% of submitters held religious views, but it does mean that the arguments made against liberalising abortion were by and large not religiously based.
“It is patently obvious that most New Zealanders don’t buy the ‘health issue’ mantra, and the subsequent ignoring of any rights of the unborn child being pushed by politicians through this bill. Independent polling released at the beginning of this year actually found strong support for the unborn child having human rights and being legally protected once a heartbeat is detected – which can be between 6–12 weeks – and only a small minority thinking that life doesn’t begin until the child is born. Women are far more likely than men to say that life begins at conception,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“And polling at the beginning of last year found that only 4% of New Zealanders want more liberal time limits for abortion. The vast majority of New Zealanders also showed strong support for a restrictive legal framework for accessing abortions. This is in stark contrast to calls by groups like Family Planning, ALRANZ and the National Council of Women who are promoting the Law Commission’s Model A which allows abortion for any reason up to birth.”
“New Zealanders love both women and their unborn children. And we want the law to reflect that love.”
All the submissions were downloaded from the submissions and advice section of the New Zealand Parliamentary website. Submitters clearly in support of or against the Abortion Legislation Bill were recorded directly as ‘support’ or ‘oppose’ respectively. If a submitter made comments about aspects of the Bill without stating their own overall position, they were recorded as ‘neutral/unclear’, as were submitters who were unclear about their overall position.
The independent analysis of the sample, carried out by an Emeritus Professor, has a margin of error of +/- 1.8%.