Political and social commitment needed to change abortion situation

20 May 2011 | BIOETHICS

The New Zealand Catholic Bishops say that the recent example of a 16 year old girl having an abortion without the knowledge or consent of her parents is a disturbing example of the law letting down our young people and undermining family values.

Bishop Peter Cullinane of Palmerston North says there are two ethical issues involved. “One is the inherent wrongness of abortion and the other is the right of parents to be involved in the lives of their own children,” he says.

“The law protects young people by requiring parental consent for an X-ray at the school dental clinic, yet it denies the right of a girl to have the support, guidance or at the very least involvement of her parents at such a critical time”.

The bishops say there needs to be political and social commitment to ensure this situation changes.

“The law needs to be amended to uphold family values and to protect the rights of young girls and their unborn children,” says Bishop Cullinane. “As a society we need to find ways to guide and support our young people so that they have a stronger sense of human dignity, self respect, and respect for each other”.

“We also need to be asking why girls as young as 11 years old are finding themselves facing the decision of whether to have an abortion. The number of women deciding to have abortions in this country is tragic. But a school girl should not be in the position of having to make the distressing and adult decision of whether to have an abortion, and should certainly never have to make this decision without the support of her family”.