Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand

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The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand was formed in 1971. It lobbies for the decriminalisation of abortion in New Zealand including allowing partial birth abortion.[1]

Contents

Mission

The mission of the organisation is:

"To secure a woman's right to choose through the decriminalization of abortion."[2]

Extreme Pro-Abortion Position

On 13 July, 2010, ALRANZ linked to a pro-abortion poster entitled "How to Think About the Fetus". ALRANZ described the poster as "a great resource".[3] The "In a Nutshell" section of the poster makes the following statements:[4]

"The only opinion that counts is that of the pregnant woman. A fetus becomes a person when the woman carrying it decides it does... There can never be a social consensus on what the value of the fetus, because it’s subjective. It’s a matter of personal opinion... Women have the right to abortion even if the fetus is a legal person with rights, because a pregnant woman has the right to defend her life and health with an abortion. It doesn’t matter when life begins or what the fetus is – women need abortions anyway. Women decide to have abortions because they want to be responsible mothers, not based on what the fetus is."

The poster also states,

"Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the fetus is, how valuable we think it is, or whether it has any rights."

That ALRANZ would endorse this poster is a strong indication that they will continue advocating for legal abortion even if they are convinced that the unborn child is a person with the right to life.

Allow Abortions in Economic Hardship

On 22 December 1999, Craig Young authored an ALRANZ Press Release in which the organisation welcomed then Minister of Justice in the Labour Government, Phil Goff's response to the latest Abortion Supervisory Committee Report. They stated,[5]

"We support the addition of economic hardship as abortion access criteria, and we also welcome ministerial calls for the streamlining of abortion access through abolition of the certifying consultant system."

Personnel

The following have served on the staff of ALRANZ:

Advisory Council

As at 1975, the following served on the Advisory Council for ALRANZ:[18]

  • Dr. Ross Blue, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Auckland
  • Dr. D. P. Boshier, Associate Professor Reproductive Biology, University of Auckland
  • Prof. R. B. Elliott, Head of Dept Paediatrics, University of Auckland
  • Dr. J. P. B. Fitzgerald, O&G Dept, University of Otago
  • Rev. Prof. Lloyd Geering, Professor of Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Prof. R. A. M. Gregson, Professor of Psychology, University of Canterbury
  • Dr. V. J. Hartfield, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, Wanganui Hospital
  • Prof. J. I. Hubbard, Professor of Neurophysiology, University of Otago
  • Prof. B. James, Chairman Dept Psychological Medicine, University of Otago
  • Prof. J.R. McCreary, Professor of Social Work, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr. R. D. MacDiarmid, General Practitioner, Dunedin
  • Rev Dr. F. W. R. Nichol, Professor of Theology, Knox College, Dunedin
  • Prof. J. E. Ritchie, Professor of Psychology, University of Waikato
  • Prof. J. L. Roberts, Professor School of Political Science, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Prof. J. L. Ryan, Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Canterbury
  • Prof. H. H. Schaefer, Professor of Psychology, University of Auckland
  • Prof. J. D. Sinclair, Professor Dept of Physiology, University of Auckland
  • Prof. A. J. W. Taylor, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Prof. A. M. O. Veale, Professor of Human Genetics, University of Auckland
  • Prof. Peter Webb, Professor School of Law, University of Auckland
  • Prof. John Scott Werry, Professor Dept of Psychiatry, University of Auckland

Vice Presidents

The following have served as vice presidents for ALRANZ:[18]

  • Dr. Muriel Blackburn, Child Psychiatrist, Auckland
  • Dr. DWC Dove, Family Physician, Auckland
  • Dr. AJ Fitchett, General Pratitioner, Dunedin
  • Rev. Don Glenny, Methodist Minister, Auckland
  • Dr. BB Grimmond, Dept of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin
  • Mr Frank Haigh, Barrister & Solicitor, Auckland
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, Mountaineer, Auckland
  • Rev. R Lane, Presbyterian Minister, Hamilton
  • John A. Lee, Author, Auckland
  • Dr. EB Lind, Psychiatrist, Ashburn Hall, Dunedin
  • Dr. B Mann, Teacher, Christchurch
  • Dr. TD Medlicott, General Practitioner, Dunedin
  • Dr. RC Muir, Psychiatrist, Wakari Hospital, Dunedin
  • Sir Dove-Meyer Robinson, Mayor, Auckland
  • Prof. PA Smithells, Professor School of Physical Education, University of Otago
  • Isabel Stanton, Social worker, Auckland
  • Nancy Sutherland, City Councillor, Christchurch

Members & Supporters

Jointly Convened Workshop with WONAAC

In 1975 the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand and the more radical pro-abortion group, the Woman's National Abortion Action Campaign jointly convened the workshop entitled ‘Abortion as a woman’s choice’ with Jan Clark and Jacqueline McCluggage as co-convenors.[22]

"ASC Impartial and Objective"

On 7 November 2000, Craig Young authored an ALRANZ Press Release which stated that,[23]

"...We have always found the ASC (Abortion Supervisory Committee) to be an impartial and objective regulatory agency."

Allow Abortion for Foetal Anomoly

ALRANZ is campaigning to decriminalise the killing of pre-born children on grounds of foetal abnormality:[1]

"ALRANZ has for many years protested at the anomaly of our legislation that the grounds for abortions after 20 weeks do not include fetal abnormality. This significant anomaly could be easily rectified by Parliament but politicians seem unaware of the distress caused to parents. It is difficult enough deciding whether or not to abort without worrying whether or not it is a crime. It is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain late-term abortions in NZ and some women are now having to travel to Australia."

Opposing Affiliation of Campus Pro-Life Group

On 13 May, 2010, following the successful affiliation of Prolife Auckland with the Students Association of Victoria University of Wellington, ALRANZ made the following public comment on its Facebook page:[24]

“Thanks so much from the wider pro-choice community in NZ for all the hard work you and other pro-choice supporters at UoA put into this. There’s a lot more awareness now, so the [Auckland University pro-life] group will surely be kept under much closer scrutiny than otherwise.”
“Again, I think this highlights the need for the pro-choice movement to come out strong in our opposition to such moves by the ant-choicers. We appreciate the work done by UoA and the frustration you all must feel. Time for us to embrace the ‘rebel consciousness’ asserted by the reproductive justice movement and begin to redefine the discourse surrounding abortion here in NZ”

ALRANZ's comments show that the move to stop Prolife Auckland from affiliating was supported and driven by more than just a few staunch pro-abortionists on the Auckland campus. It is also an indictment on the NZ pro-abortion lobby's treatment of those who disagree with their views. They are working to suppress anyone who dares to express views which dissent from their ideology – and they don’t care if such suppression is unjust or discriminatory.[25]

Abortion on Demand Bill

ALRANZ is a strong supporter of Labour MP Steve Chadwick's proposed Abortion on Demand Bill which would decriminalise abortion up to 24 weeks. This is to be expected, as total decriminalisation of abortion is the chief goal of ALRANZ.[26]

Offensive Statements

For further offensive statements, see Research Officer Craig Young's profile in which are contained a number of interesting comments from ALRANZ press releases that he authored.

"The Raving Right"

On 29 November 2000, Craig Young authored an ALRANZ Press Release which stated,[27]

"One hopes that SPUC, Right to Life New Zealand, the Christian Heritage Party and the rest of the "raving right" take notice of our Commonwealth counterpart."

Opposing Choice in Student Union Membership

On September 29, 2010, ALRANZ’s National Secretary Morgan Healey authored a press release on behalf of the society. The release was titled "ALRANZ Dismayed At Anti-Student Union Recommendation".[28]

"As a pro-choice organisation, ALRANZ has collaborated and worked with student associations throughout the years. Together with Victoria University associations like, Salient, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA) Women’s Group, Auckland University Feminist Collective and the new pro-choice group, Action for Abortion Rights, we have sought to bring awareness and change to the issue of reproductive justice in New Zealand...
...It is vital that the myriad groups on campus fighting for things like women’s reproductive rights are encouraged to thrive in the tertiary sector,” ALRANZ’s National Secretary Morgan Healey said today. “But under this bill, they are likely to be strangled."

It will appear strange that a "pro-choice" organisation is opposed to a "pro-choice" bill which allows students to choose whether or not they join the student union at their university. ALRANZ is particularly involved in fighting this bill because the know that if the student unions lose funding through a large number of students choosing not to join, that the pro-abortion rights groups affiliated with the unions will also suffer from lack of funds.

2013 - Altering Direction

At the May 2013 launch of Alison McCulloch's book, Right to Choose, former president of ALRANZ Margaret Sparrow made the following comments where she stated that ALRANZ should incorporate the tactics and philosophy of WONAAC moving forward:[29]

"This book will make you angry. But it will also make you reflect on your own values. It certainly made me question mine. In the 70s I felt more comfortable with the more moderate stance of ALRANZ with its emphasis on safety and access - what Alison refers to as "the conservative medico humanitarian approach," as opposed to the more radical feminist right-to-choose approach of WONAAC. But over the years, I have changed - and so has ALRANZ, appreciating the need for greater emphasis on women's rights. I look forward to the new leadership in ALRANZ, headed by our new president, Morgan Healey, spearheading further changes.
One of the great strengths of Alison's book is that she has been involved in both WONAAC and ALRANZ and understands only too well the common ground as well as the differences between the two approaches, and how in the future, both must be utilized for the benefit of women. Understanding our history is essential as we contemplate the future. My dream for the future is much more ambitious than Alison's (her dream is in the book). I dream of a future when people have much better methods of contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancies in the first place. And when these occur, as they always will, there will be safe, reliable and private methods of abortion, making the politicians, doctors and lawyers largely irrelevant."

Contact Details

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 ALRANZ website: February 2007 Newsletter
  2. Facebook group: ALRANZ - Info (accessed on 14 May, 2010)
  3. ALRANZ Blog: The Canadian Model, 13 July, 2010 (accessed on 16 July, 2010)
  4. The Abortion Rights Coalition in Canada website: How to Think About the Fetus poster (accessed on 16 July, 2010)
  5. ALRANZ Press Release: Abortion Law Reform Assn Welcome Moves, 22 Dec., 1999 (accessed on 25 July, 2010)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 ALRANZ Newsletter, Feb. 2010 (accessed on 30 April, 2010)
  7. ALRANZ Newsletter, May 2009 (accessed on 30 April, 2010)
  8. ALRANZ Newsletter, August 2008 (accessed 30 April, 2010)
  9. Ministry of Women's Affairs website: Directory (accessed on 30 April, 2010)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 ALRANZ website: August 2007 Newsletter
  11. ALRANZ Press Release: ALRANZ Slams "Holocaust" - IVF Comparison, 20 Sept., 2000 (accessed on 25 July, 2010)
  12. ALRANZ website: August 2010 Newsletter (accessed on 24 August, 2010)
  13. Te Waha Nui: AUT University student journalism: The post-abortion debate, 25 August, 2010 (accessed on 26 August, 2010)
  14. ALRANZ Newsletter, May 2011
  15. ALRANZ Newsletter, Feb. 2009
  16. Issues.co.nz: Family Planning Initiative Will Make Abortion Safer, 11 March 2009 (accessed on 9 July, 2012)
  17. ALRANZ: ALRANZ calls for more vigilance of anti-abortion tactics, April 11, 2013 (accessed on April 11, 2013)
  18. 18.0 18.1 AMAC website: An historical perspective on abortion in New Zealand (accessed on 29 April, 2010)
  19. ALRANZ website: August 2009 Newsletter (accessed on 16 July, 2010)
  20. ALRANZ Newsletter, Feb. 2009
  21. ‘A Woman’s Right to Choose’: Second Wave Feminist Advocacy of Abortion Law Reform in New Zealand and New South Wales from the 1970s, Hayley Marina Brown, University of Canterbury 2004
  22. ALRANZ Newsletter, Feb, 2005
  23. ALRANZ Press Release: ALRANZ: "Right To Life" And Their Media Release, 7 Nov., 2000 (accessed on 25 July, 2010)
  24. Facebook: ALRANZ (accessed on 17 May, 2010)
  25. Semper Vita blog: ALRANZ supports the unjust discrimination of pro-life students at Auckland University, 17 May 2010 (accessed on 16 July, 2010)
  26. ALRANZ website: ALRANZ SPECIAL BULLETIN JULY 2010 ON STEVE CHADWICK'S BILL, July 2010 (accessed on 16 July, 2010)
  27. ALRANZ Press Release: ALRANZ: Canadian Elections A Signal To New Zealand, 29 Nov., 2000 (accessed on 25 July, 2010)
  28. ALRANZ Press Release: ALRANZ Dismayed At Anti-Student Union Recommendation, 29 Sept. 2010 (accessed on 30 Sept. 2010)
  29. YouTube: Fighting to Choose: The Abortion Rights Struggle in NZ - Book Launch (4) Dame Margaret Sparrow, May 4, 2013 (accessed on Sep. 23, 2013)
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