CHRISTCHURCH — A pamphlet given to women considering an abortion at a Christchurch facility uses language of love, compassion and faith to justify a decision to terminate an unborn child.
Pro-life sources spoken to by NZ Catholic say this happens in the United States of America, but it is the first time they have heard of it in New Zealand.
The pamphlet contains a tract entitled “Women Know”, written by Americans Anne Baker and Jean Stewart Berg from Hope Clinic in Illinois. It lists parenthood, adoption and abortion as choices the woman can make, but most of its statements are justifications for abortion.
It concludes: “We women know the truth: that given certain circumstances, abortion is the most morally responsible and loving choice we can make.”
Some of the statements are:
“We know when the choice of abortion can prevent the harsh consequences of bringing a child into the world when we are not ready or able to do our child justice.
“We act out of compassion when we wait to have a child until the time when we can give it the kind of life every child deserves.
“We act out of love when we consider what we would be taking away from the child or children we already have if we brought another child into our family now.
“We take care of our spiritual well-being each in our own way, trusting our faith to provide: Infinite Love, Complete Understanding, Unlimited Forgiveness, Boundless Compassion.”
The pamphlet adds that “childbirth, miscarriage and abortion are all part of women’s lives” and that women of every religion have had abortions, including ministers in some denominations.
The pamphlet was one of two pieces of literature that staff initially gave a young woman inquiring about the abortion procedure at Christchurch Women’s Hospital in February this year, a pregnancy centre counsellor at the John Paul II Centre for Life, Sandra Martin, told NZ Catholic.
The twisting of words around faith, love and compassion in a highly emotive way are of great concern as they can desensitise the woman to what is really happening, Mrs Martin said.
Many women who are in crisis have already disconnected their heads from their hearts, she added.
“The biggest thing that is important for any girl that we see is . . . that she gets the full information of the truth before her,” Mrs Martin said.
“We are not emotive when we deal with the girls.”
Mrs Martin said the pamphlet was “shocking and very sad”, as it is one of the first pieces of literature given to “someone who is in crisis, fearful and not knowing what to do”.
“We were really very saddened that Christchurch Women’s Hospital is actually using this sort of documentation in support of what these women are about to do.”
Voice for Life national president Bernard Moran said he has heard of pro-choice literature of this quasi-spiritual nature being distributed in the United States, but not in New Zealand.
He said a good reference on the subject is a book from Operation Rescue entitled Abortion Rites: How Feminist Spirituality is Reframing the Abortion Debate, by Kendra Wilcox.
Some US feminist writers have depicted abortion as a blessing and a women’s sacrament. One has claimed that abortion is a sacrificial act to the Ephesian deity Artemis.
(The young woman given the pamphlet did have the abortion — her second — Mrs Martin believes. She did not come to the John Paul centre for counselling, despite offers. The main reason for the abortion was an ultimatum from her boyfriend that he would leave her if she had the baby.)