On Monday night we attended a pro-life and ethics discussion and debate. I don't normally post other people's content but Liz Gregory has written such a great write-up it would be silly for me to do another take on it - so, with her permission, here is her take on the evening (photos of the panel discussion which took place after the presentation):
"We hosted Brendan Malone to speak about how to create a Culture of Life in NZ and what the stumbling blocks are. Following that was a panel discussion on ethics represented by a Gynaecologist/Obstetrician, Rest Home Care Manager, Local Minister (who also worked as a Science Teacher and in AgResearch), IVF recipient and a School Guidance Counsellor who
also stood for local party elections in 2008. More than 50 lively people turned out for great evening.
I was most struck by a Gynaecologist and Obstetrician who revealed he used to do abortions and vomit afterwards. He spoke passionately about the “lack” of information given to ladies planning an abortion and made it clear that if they simply watched a video of one being performed that would put them off.
He mentioned there is a 300% increased risk of mental illness after an abortion and the long-term effects. Wither permission I revealed that I have a friend who had an abortion 7 years ago and she sits squarely in the “norm” of post-abortive women – still depressed (on a sickness benefit), on-going physical illnesses, regretful, cannot move on and was encouraged to have the abortion by a family member, then not given the required information to make an informed consent and now she’s frightened about the heightened chances of breast cancer and lower chances of getting pregnant again.
Sadly the Doctor noted that in the past girls would come in and be upset about having an abortion – now they come in with their girlfriends almost laughing about it. They use it like contraception. He refuses to do abortions now. He also dispelled the myth that NZ has strict laws around abortion. He says it’s on demand. And that IS illegal.
One of the panel members also noted that they were on the adoption waiting list – and in 2011 there were only approx 160 children available.
Our post-abortive women need a lot of love and care as they are hurting members of our society. With that in mind, I congratulate the Southern Life Group who are involved in peaceful protest and in giving accurate information to women who are contemplating an abortion. Perhaps Close Up might like to do an article on that next week.
We also discussed issues like genetic engineering of animals and is it ethical to apply these advances in technology to humans. Rev Mary-Jane worked in the field of Ag Research for years and told us about some interesting ways of preventing possums having babies by harvesting parasites which act as contraceptives. So we briefly touched on how that would be inappropriate in people (Brendan also touched on unethical Government proposals to prevent some people in our communities having children - eugenics)
We also looked at what makes humans different from animals? Why is it okay to "put down" your pet, but not your Grandma? We were made aware that there is currently a private members bill waiting to be drawn out of the ballot cakked Dignity with Death.... You know that that means. Euthansia. The Care Manager made it clear that we have death with dignity in this country already, with caring staff, excellent medical care and that death is not something we should hide and ignore. She reminded us that wonderful things happen at the end of someone's life - families get restored, grievances get put to rest, people get saved, people get a chance to say goodbye etc and that it's a privilege to be part of that.
Another aspect to the evening was a description of the IVF process from a mum who has successfully conceived through treatment. She outlined her concerns surrounding the destruction of fertilised egg and sperm (embryos) and how they had decided that all their frozen embryos would eventually be put back into her over time if necessary - even if that meant 7 children. None would be thrown in the rubbish bin - as that was destroying life. She also mentioned that she had no issues seeking medical help for infertility. She seeks help for a range of other health issues and fertility is no different.
Finally we heard from a School Guidance Counsellor and asked about his work and how he balances his Christian values with Ministry Guidelines and how he counsels young men.
We had some questions from the floor and there was certainly lively and vibrant discussion over supper.
All up it was a most interesting and entertaining evening. We were informed of how many attacks there are on creating a culture of life - but there is hope if we are prepared to be people of action. We hope you can join us next time we host an event like this. Many thanks to the people involved and the Voice for Life Team in Timaru who organised Brendan to speak."