In this Holy Week it was almost inexpressibly sad to read an op-ed column yesterday in our nation’s largest-circulation newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, championing the idea of a law to provide for (paid) bereavement leave for women who chose to have their (unborn) baby killed. Had it been 1 April, one might have wondered if it was some, slightly sick, April Fools jape. But this appeared to be for real.
The author is described thus
Frances Everard is a New Zealand human rights lawyer currently working in New York.
although her LinkedIn profile suggests she is actually currently doing a masters at New York University, and has been volunteering at an pro-abortion entity that is part of the university. She previously worked for a couple of years for an arm of New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission.
Everard seeks to extend the provision, contained currently in a private member’s bill, that would provide bereavement leave to mothers, and their partners, after experiencing a miscarriage. But that is really just the, rather opportunistic hook for her own case. This is someone championing the notion that abortion – the deliberate of an (unborn) human being – is a “health issue”, and that all pregnancies that end should be treated the same way be the law.
The case is feeble. Why should we do this?
Why? Because all women matter,
Indeed, as do all men, all children, all unborn children. Oh, but not that last in Ms Everard’s book. They have no rights, no independent standing. Just able to be disposed of at the whim of the mother. Imagine taking the same approach to a three month old baby that had been safely delivered.
She also objects to the proposed new legislation becuase it is
(2) favouring the experience of grief over health.
We don’t give bereavement leave to people who kill their own children, or parents, siblings or anyone else. Or even to those whole wilfully neglect those they have responsiblity for. We arrest them. They typically face long spells of imprisonment,
Imagine the moral reasoning that equates the grief of someone who has last a close friend or relative, whether to disease, accident or murder, with someone who regards giving birth as inconvenient and commissions doctors to kill her own child (with or without the support and involvement of the father).
This is her reasoning, such as it is
Enough with the stigma. It’s time to normalise all pregnancies and their outcomes. The fact is, pregnancies occur when we don’t want them, and fail when we do. Some of us may even terminate a wanted pregnancy — for medical, financial or other reasons.
Should we “normalise” all children and their outcomes too? Murdered or flourishing just the same? A child was going to be a bit costly after all, so I had it killed, and now – society – look with favour on me, and grant me paid (by an employer, who may or may not share those values) leave. (Incidentally, nothing stops a sympathetic employer providing leave voluntarily in such circumstances.)
She goes on
Including all pregnancy outcomes gives every woman the freedom to address the end of her pregnancy in a way that makes sense for her. The point is, all women experience pregnancy differently. Every experience is valid. The law must reflect that.
“Every experience is valid” is on the one hand meaningless, and on the other a rather strained attempt to normalise wrongdoing, and to eliminate any real sense of categorical differences. Few serious people yet (fortunately) are willing to treat a miscarriage – something outside the control of parents – as the same category as a willed abortion, even if they may support the right to an abortion. One is a moral choice, a willed act. The other generally one of vicissitudes of life. Interestingly, Everard quotes a statistics claiming that 95 per cent of women who have abortions have no later regrets. Why then the (claimed) need for bereavement leave? Who is bereft (other perhaps than the murdered child)?
The articles gets more far-fetched
The solution is simple: amend the bill to extend sick leave entitlements to all women whose pregnancies end, and extend the leave to people other than partners or spouses. Indeed, not all women will have an intimate or supportive partner. They may need support from a friend or family member.
All women should be able to choose who they want to support them after their pregnancies end. Also, not all pregnant people identify as women. The law should reflect that too.
On the one hand, you have an abortion and some employer somewhere has to provide paid “bereavement” leave to a friend whose support you might feel you need. And on the other – taking further leave from our conventional notions – the law shouldn’t provide for “women” to take bereavement leave in these circumstances, because “not all pregnant people identify as women”. You can label yourself whatever you choose – man, woman, hedgehog or whatver – but if you are pregnant you are a woman.
She ends this way
It’s been 125 years since becoming the first nation to get the women’s vote. More than 40 years of treating abortion as a crime. The tide is finally turning in recognising our rights to reproductive health. This bill must catch up.
We must reject unhelpful stereotypes and be ourselves at all risks. Instead of letting this bill define us and divide us, let’s amend it to unite us. We can be world firsts again.
Abortion was never a matter of indifference to the law prior to 1977. If, as seems likely, our left-wing government pushes through legislation to make killing an unborn child a “health matter” (in the positive sense of that term, although a child is dismembered in the process) it will be a landmark event – one no doubt that Ms Everard and her ideological allies would celebrate.
But I suspect that she overreaches when she suggests that treating an abortion and a miscarriage as just the same would “unite us”. It might well be a “world first”, but it would be a sickening and depraved step, taken by a society and Parliament that had abandoned all respect for common decency, traditional morality, and any regard for the lives of the most vulnerable among us.
Then again, the unborn child gets no mention, at all, in the entire article.
As a budding legal scholar, and “human rights lawyer” we can only wonder at the reasoning she might develop to distinguish between killing a late-term unborn child and killing a week old child that had been delivered. It was, I think, Peter Singer who argued there was no important moral difference (being sympathetic to both possibilities). He was right of course.
As we walk with Christ towards his cross, we can only lament a society so sickened and degenerate that proposals of this sort, to normalise evil, to remake human society in whatever image we prefer, is afforded a prominent place in the mainstream media. This isn’t to criticise the newspaper concerned – itself really mostly a reflection of the surrounding “elites”. We pray that from among the ashes, God himself will use what is left of the church to revive faith and call us back nearer to standards that honour our creater and redeemer.