This is a story you can be sure we won’t see in the leftist-dominated mainstream media.
The indefatigable Ken Orr, of the Christchurch-based organisation Right to Life, made an Official Information Act request to New Zealand’s 20 district health boards asking if they had received any complaints of intimidation or harassment from women attending abortion clinics over a two-year period from 2019 to 2021.
Not one had. No complaints from staff, either.
So why is the government pretending that harassment of abortion patients is an issue so pressing that it requires special legislation to protect them – legislation that even the Attorney-General admitted cuts across freedom of speech rights guaranteed under the Bill of Rights Act?
An estimated 26,000 women had abortions during the period covered by the OIA request, yet there’s no record of any complaining that they felt intimidated or harassed by anti-abortion protesters, who typically maintain a passive vigil outside clinics.
This explains why Terry Bellamak, the voluble American abortion rights activist who led the charge for the creation of 150-metre “safe zones” around abortion clinics, was forced to resort to evidence from her home country to demonstrate the supposed need for New Zealand abortion patients to be “protected” from right-to-life protesters.
As Orr says, the emotively titled “Safe Areas” Bill seeks to address a problem that doesn’t exist.
Not content with passing one of the world’s most radical abortion laws, the government has followed it up with legislation that curtails the right to protest. How ironic that this is being done by a government laden with people who cut their political teeth in the protest movement and would be outraged if restrictions were imposed on demonstrations in favour of approved left-wing causes, many of which impinge on the rights of others.
The right they claimed for themselves, they now wish to deny others. This is hypocrisy and double standards on a grand scale, and yet another manifestation of the cancel culture flourishing with the government’s tacit and sometimes active (as in this case) approval.
Footnote: Seventeen of New Zealand's 20 DHBs responded to Orr's request. Of the three that didn’t, two don’t perform abortions. Orr says Tairawhiti (Gisborne) is the only board that provides abortions but failed to meet its obligations under the OIA.