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Mum who petitioned for abortion law change won't give up

Newstalk ZB staff ,
Publish Date
Fri, 8 Jul 2016, 8:44AM
Hilary Kiefts is disappointed there was no major policy change (Stock Xchng)

Mum who petitioned for abortion law change won't give up

Newstalk ZB staff ,
Publish Date
Fri, 8 Jul 2016, 8:44AM

UPDATED 12.01pm The mother who petitioned to make it mandatory for parents to know if their children under 16 have an abortion, has pledged not to give up.

LISTEN ABOVE: Hilary Kieft chats to Mike Hosking

Hilary Kieft's 15-year-old daughter had an abortion at boarding school, but Ms Kieft didn't find out about it until a year later when her daughter attempted suicide.

A select committee has rejected the suggestion of mandatory notification, but agreed to strengthen post-abortion counselling.

MORE: MPs turn down petition seeking law abortion change

Ms Kieft told Mike Hosking she's disappointed with the decision.

"I'm grateful for the minor changes they're going to do. We still can't protect our girls. It's still going to carry on the same. You are going to have girls that are going to try to commit suicide and girls that will commit suicide. How then are we to help them."10

However both the Maori and New Zealand First parties disagree with the committee's findings, arguing disclosure to parents should happen.

They say parents and caregivers have a natural right to be informed so that they can guide and assist the child's decision-making.

National MP Chester Borrows took the issue to the select committee.

He said the concern is that if scared teenagers feel they have no choice in whether their parents know, there'd be a rise in back-street abortions.

"I'm disappointed that we didn't get to change the legislation because we didn't get the numbers really. I would have liked to have seen a default position where parents had a right to be informed unless there was a risk or threat to the young woman."

Mr Borrows said there will be some policy changes which mean underage girls who get abortions will be checked up on by a suitable adult.

Family First director Bob McCoskrie said politicians are taking power away from parents, who should have a protective factor.

"The politicians have treated parents as being a potential enemy and to be treated as hostile. For some reason we should only trust professional counsellors and we shouldn't trust parents."

The Abortion Law Reform Association is applauding the decision to reject the petition.

National President Terry Bellamak said if a child is scared about telling their parents something, they usually have a good reason to be.

"[It's] pretty much the norm that teens at that age generally do tell their parents, so this change would have impacted most on the teens who are most vulnerable."

She said out of the 32 terminations by under 16s in 2015, only a handful did not tell their parents.

Are you affected by an issue in this article? Here's where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• The Word
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.


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