Ooohh look over there.
That’s what Labour and others on the left are doing in trying to make Roe vs Wade an issue in New Zealand.
They’re worried about the polls and desperate for something they can use to attack National. Struggling to find traction on anything here they’re doing their best to use something that has no relevance in New Zealand.
In doing so they’ve been helped by the media who have, as they do too often, painted abortion as a black and white issue with no attempt to cover the many shades of grey.
Coverage of abortion is almost always divided into the two extremes, depicting it as either a woman’s choice or anti-women.
Those extremes might reflect the views of some people.
Some believe abortion is never, ever right. Some believe it is never, ever wrong.
But in between are a range of views.
It is possible to believe that life begins at conception but that abortion is right in a case like this to save the mother when the baby can’t survive.
It is possible to believe that life begins at conception and accept that while abortion isn’t right for those who believe that, there are cases where it could be right for others.
It is possible to believe that life begins at conception and accept it as an option in some circumstances including when the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape; it is being carried by a child; carrying the baby endangers the life or health of the mother, be it mental or physical; or when the mother for myriad reasons couldn’t cope with a child.
It is possible to believe that life begins at conception and accept that the consequences of illegal abortions, when that’s all there are, require and legitimise safe and legal ones.
Then there’s the shades of grey on the other side.
It is possible to believe that abortion is a woman’s right and accept there’s intellectual inconsistency when what’s aborted is regarded as merely a bunch of cells but what’s lost in a miscarriage is a baby with all the grief that goes with such a loss.
It is possible to believe that abortion is a woman’s right in early pregnancy but not in later stages, especially once the baby could survive outside the womb.
It is possible to believe that abortion is a woman’s right but that the child, and the father have rights too.
These nuances are rarely, if ever, covered in media stories on the issue and I have seen none in the extensive coverage that’s come in the wake of the US court’s decision.
Instead a lot of the focus has been on National and attempts to make abortion an issue which might have a profound impact on support, or otherwise for the party, and on next year’s election even though the USA decision has no relevance here.
Belatedly some focus turned on Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta who tweeted a comment condemning the Roe vs Wade decision even though she voted against the 2020 legislation liberalising abortion law.
. . . Politicians in New Zealand were also quick to condemn the move including Nanaia Mahuta who called it “draconian”.
“The US Supreme Courts overturning of Roe v. Wade Is draconian and does not support the right of women to choice. How can this happen? (sic)” Mahuta tweeted on Saturday. . .
Mahuta voted in favour of the first abortion reform reading in 2019 but against the second and third. She also voted in favour of legislation to introduce safe zones for women accessing abortion facilities in 2022.
A spokesperson for Mahuta said she was travelling and wouldn’t be able to answer why she voted against the second and third readings. . .
But regardless of which of our MPs voted which way, the USA legislation is an issue for that country and its people, not us and ours.
There might be a few single-issue voters who are agitated about abortion but when both major parties have said they have no intention of revisiting the legislation it won’t be of concern for most.
What will be top of mind, and are of far more imortance, are the issues from which Labour is trying to distract us – the cost of living, housing shortage, increase in crime, a health system in crisis . . .
There’s more than enough to foment domestic indignation without importing it over what’s happening in the USA. It will change nothing here no matter how hard some are trying to make it an issue for us and in doing so are painting it as black and white with no shades of grey.