Massey University have released the abortion portion of the results from an annual Social Inequality survey that their School of Communication, Journalism & Marketing carries out. I haven't seen any releases about any other bits, has anyone else?
The results appear to show some pretty alarmingly restrictive attitudes about when abortion is ok, such as 10% of respondents opposing a termination when the woman's physical health is "seriously endangered by the pregnancy." I cannot imagine being that opposed to abortion that you would hold such an extreme position as to allow someone to die rather than terminate a pregnancy. I know women who would not be alive today in a world that harsh.
The questions themselves, which you can see in the Scoop release, seem to me quite judgy. Particularly the scenario "If the woman is not married and does not wish to marry the man" (which had the lowest approval rate, 33%), when there was no question flipping the gender of who didn't wish to marry. Not to mention the rather quaint old fashioned notion of Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes A Baby In A Baby Carriage implicit in this phrasing. Surely enough New Zealanders now know people born out of wedlock, living in sin, or parenting prior to entering the Holy State of Matrimony to be a bit more open-minded about this.
Why not simply ask who should decide whether or not a pregnancy can be terminated? Surely that gets to the crux of it?
Our dear friends at Family First of course put their own spin on the survey results, proclaiming 'Lifestyle' Abortions Lose Support thunderously. Of course their release isn't entirely consistent with the actual numbers from Massey, seeing as how they imply that the public does not support the woman's mental health as an ok reason for termination. In fact 73% of those surveyed supported abortion in the case of "serious endangerment" to mental health with only 16% opposed in those circumstances. Just as well Massey put out their own release with the information a few days after FF, so we could actually see for ourselves.
Then there's their use of the "lifestyle" moniker, so popular as a perjorative term currently. I can just see it now, women all over the country thinking what shall I do today? Oh I know, a mani and a pedi, then an abortion. And I better book in for a nice massage to release the tension afterwards. Even if we truly did have abortion on demand, as FF claim, that's not how terminations would happen.
New Zealanders in general are perhaps not as progressive about abortion as I'd like, but I still believe they are significantly more liberal on the matter than Family First and their allies claim.