Having children out of wedlock was a source of guilt, shame, family dishonour and social disgrace. Dr Margaret Sparrow
A need to end the “criminal activity”
By Roger Childs
Well known family planning activist, Margaret Sparrow, wrote a book entitled Rough on Women about the tragedy of abortion practices in 19th century New Zealand.
At least 25 women are known to have died as a result of abortion “operations” in the second half of the 19th century in New Zealand. Infection and blood poisoning were the major cause of death.
In those days, long before contraception was widely available or even socially acceptable, many women, both married and unmarried, were desperate to end unwanted pregnancies. Tragically for many, it cost them their lives.
Today abortion remains a criminal activity and is only allowed in particular circumstances. Before the election Jacinda Ardern indicated that she would like to see it removed from the Crimes Act. National leader, Simon Bridges says, No.
Ireland shows the way
The recent successful referendum to allow abortions in the Republic of Ireland shows the way for New Zealand.
Back in the 1890s under a Liberal government, and again in the 1930’s under Labour, our country was known as a world renowned social laboratory. However we lost our way in later decades and were slow to adopt homosexual law reform and same sex marriages.
Currently we are still arguing over the right to die with dignity and have archaic abortion laws.
As regards the later, legislation in the past has been devised by predominantly male politicians who had no understanding of what women went through in pregnancy, child birth and abortions.
Ireland let the people decide in a referendum. Hopefully in New Zealand, parliament can sensibly change the laws and restore our reputation as a progressive democracy.