Ken Orr of Right to Life New Zealand, a tireless campaigner for the unborn, has revealed that as a consequence of the radically liberalised abortion law passed this year, information about abortions that was previously required to be publicly disclosed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee (which no longer exists) will now be withheld.
The oddly named Abortion Legislation Act includes a provision requiring the Director-General of Health to “collect, collate, analyse and publish” information about abortion services, but it’s so loosely worded and non-specific as to be worthless. And the Notification of Abortion form that abortion providers are required to fill out doesn’t include crucial information about why the abortion has been performed. Presumably this is because no justification is required.
Orr points out that the disbanded ASC produced a 30-page annual report with 11 pages of statistics, but under the new regime the curtailment of life in the womb will conveniently be carried out behind a curtain of secrecy. We won’t know, for example, whether babies have been aborted because they have Down’s Syndrome, or for reasons of sex selection. (The Act states that Parliament opposes abortion for the "sole purpose" of sex selection, presumably because it offends feminists, and requires the D-G to conduct a five-yearly review to establish whether there’s any evidence of it happening. But that’s no guarantee of anything, and crucially there appears to be no public disclosure requirement.)
Neither will we know, apparently, whether abortions have been performed because of rape or incest, since abortionists aren't required to provide that information, or how many abortions are carried out at the point in the baby’s gestation when it’s capable of survival outside the womb. It’s not in the government’s interests for us to be told how many babies have been aborted alive, because even people who think abortion is a matter of a woman’s right to choose are likely to be appalled at the thought of living babies callously being left to die (and with no pain relief, because pro-abortion MPs voted against providing it). But it will happen, and we won’t know about it.
The public will thus be unable to assess the impact and consequences of the Act. The purpose can only be, as Orr says, to avoid public scrutiny and debate. The new law thus raises important issues of transparency and freedom of information. But that’s okay, because we’re told the 2020 Act, in the bloodless language of the lawmakers, is simply about “better aligning the regulation of abortion services with other health services” and presumably of no more consequence than a tooth extraction.