Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Greetings from New Zealand!

I have been visiting pro-life friends in New Zealand for the past week and thought I'd share my observations with you. Naturally these are generalizations, but if something is wildly wrong, I'm sure that Kiwis will correct me in the comments section.

In the United States, people typically assume that a pro-life group is Christian (or, more specifically, Catholic) unless told otherwise. Not so in New Zealand. It's a more secular country overall, but it's the ideas that count, not the religious affiliations of the people espousing them. There are of course many great Christian pro-lifers who are motivated by a religious obligation to protect the vulnerable. But even if a pro-life organization has mostly or entirely Christian membership, the group can operate just fine in the secular marketplace of ideas. Abortion advocates haven't strongly invested in anti-religious propoganda like they have in the USA. There's no need for an organization like here.

The biggest problem pro-life Kiwis face is not virulent abortion advocacy, but apathy. New Zealanders are known for their laid-back attitude, which is a wonderful trait in many contexts. But when it comes to being actively pro-life, many hesitate, seeing it as too "enthusiastic." Even the fact that 18,000 babies are killed each year (in a country of only 4 million) is insufficient to get people to care.

But I don't want to paint too gloomy a picture of the situation in New Zealand. For one thing, the Kiwi pro-life movement has many leaders under the age of 30, which is a great sign. Here are a couple of pro-life news items out of the gorgeous islands of New Zealand:

First, the New Zealand government recently entered an agreement with Russia which will allow Kiwis to adopt Russian kids. This is great news not only for Russia's older kids who need families, but also for its unborn babies. Russia has an outrageously high abortion rate, but is becoming more pro-life; as the Russian demand for adoptive families increases, international adoptions will help to meet it and spare the lives of many children.

Second, Pro-Life NZ is planning a speaking tour of two American pro-life leaders-- Bryan Kemper and Jill Stanek-- who will be joined by Kiwi advocates at various locations in the tour. The tour will take place from January 28 to February 8. Click here for the full schedule. If you live near Wellington, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, or Hamilton, I encourage you to attend.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the good news! I am especially happy to hear that in NZ the logic of certain ideas is valued over any preconceived ideological connotations! Though I'm a fervent Catholic, I cringe when pro-life/anti-abortion arguments are centered solely on religious reasons and sources (though, I will use such justifications when speaking to another theist). On most occasions, I base the majority of my arguments on the overwhelming medical and scientific evidence for life. Indeed, these are the strongest sources of support (as you well know)!

Anonymous said...

cheers! that's a good summary of the situation here in Aotearoa.