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Pro-Life Training Workshop in New Zealand

2 comments | 9:10 am | top |

Brendan Malone, Family Life International NZ
In New Zealand  more than 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in an abortion, with 18,000 being committed against our silent unborn citizens every year. For too many years the pro-life movement in New Zealand has been well under the radar with the past generation of pro-lifers burnt out, largely not having passed the baton on to the next generation - and where the baton was held out, the next generation didn't grasp it and keep going. Abortion has only been in the news when reporting on developments on an ongoing court-case (which you can read about here), or to report on international news. Over the last year the pro-life movement has been slowly gaining momentum with the establishment of a new nation-wide youth-based pro-life group, Prolife NZ. And then when the Voice for Life branch in a small town called Kapiti had the idea to host a pro-life training workshop, the ball really got rolling. The day before the workshop we held a protest march (the first anti-abortion march in I don't know how long), against the Family Planning Association (Planned Parenthood equivalent). The FPA corporation which is a "sex-education" provider has applied to the Abortion Supervisory Committee for a license to commit chemical (RU486) abortions against mothers and their pre-born children up to 9wks, at its 30 clinics throughout New Zealand. The march was well attended and photos are here.

Matt & Madeline Flannagan
The workshop was held on Sat. 28 November in a school hall with speakers and delegates from all around the country. Brian Whittaker opened the conference with some inspiring videos and then a presentation of Scott Klusendorf's SLED model which many were hearing for the first time and found very helpful. Bob McCoskrie of Family First (Focus on the Family equivalent) spoke to us about the importance of language in this battle and then on lessons we can learn from the other side of the debate on how best to engage the media and the public. Matt & Madeline Flannagan who were both active student campaigners against abortion in the early 2000's spoke to the audience firstly on getting our message right: are we campaigning against abortion because it harms women or because it kills pre-born children? They then covered more apologetics and common objections to the anti-abortion position. Matt did his PhD in Abortion as Arbitrary Feticide and their talk was extremely beneficial. Brendan Malone of Family Life International NZ spoke about the history of abortion law, and the way that our culture is embracing a self-centered humanistic approach to life which results in the unborn being cast aside as annoying and worthless. I was the last speaker, sharing reasons for getting involved in the pro-life movement and a bunch of practical ways people can actively be pro-life on a day to day basis.

a resources table with 12wk fetal models and pamphlets
With over 130 in attendance at the workshop and many of these youth, the organizers were very happy and are looking forward to next year. Of course that's not good enough for the young people, as next year is too far away and already on the email group plans are being set in motion for another conference early next year. It is encouraging to see this, as this has been initiated by a group in a city where previously there was little more than a stir against the injustice of abortion being committed there and throughout the rest of the country. Wherever you are based, I encourage you to meet up with some other pro-lifers, get a committee together, and get a pro-life workshop happening in a town or city near you. This cause isn't something like model-trains or a stamp-collectors club - this musn't be something that we do once a year, switch on the enthusiasm and activism for a couple of days and then switch off for the rest of the year. Even if you only have 20 or 30 turn up, you're going to be doing more good than you know by not only inspiring and convicting the next generation of the importance of their involvment, but also empowering them to know how they can get active in the fight for the right to life of the unborn. That handful of people are going to go back to their home-towns and start firing up the people around them and engaging them in the discussion about this greatest of all social injustices. The workshop in NZ has been a real encouragement for us here - and it is this sort of initiative that is at last going to bring the monster of abortion crashing down.

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Blogger Canterbury Atheists said...

Andy mate, as you know my own point of view on abortion could be described as neutral it’s just not something I get in a tizz over.

Considering God’s word (The Bible) doesn’t see fit to mention abortion at all, except to issue a recipe for it, frankly astounds me why it’s uniquely Christians who get their knickers in a twist over an issue clearly God didn't see important enough to place one line of condemnation about?

Slavery and polygamy also come to mind as other so-called no no’s that God missed out directly admonishing as well.

But moving back to abortion and getting off my hobby horse a second – just now many neutrals like me do you think would be interested in joining a group such as yours?

How many atheists who were say against abortion (and there’s a number I know personally) would feel comfortable amongst all the ‘fire and brimstone’?

Then there’s the issue of allowing a group like Family Life International speaking rights on anything to do with Child (unborn or otherwise) Welfare? Think ‘mass child abuse’ and ‘cover-up’. Catholics have zero credibility preaching to anyone given their record in this field.

Take my advice - whilst you guys attract extremists like McCostie (the guy who wanted to ban The Simpsons cartoon) you’ll never get any traction and scare-off more people from your cause than you will attract.

Even mainstream believers find the ‘anti-abortion’ rhetoric over-powering.

Tempering it will win you more support.

Have a good Christmas/Northern Winter Solstice.


2:30 pm, December 08, 2009 
Blogger Andy Moore said...

Paul, abortion isn't specifically referred to in the Bible, but neither is speeding on roads mentioned, however both are immoral activities, and principles found within the Bible will soon clear up the doubts you have over the Bible's position on their acceptability.

I'm surprised that you would say it's uniquely Christians who are opposed to abortion, as this is categorically false. Heard of the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians, Pagans for Life, or Libertarians for Life? Or perhaps NZ's abortion law which is quite clear that abortion is a criminal offense except in rare circumstances, and further states that full consideration must be given to the rights of the unborn child.

What fire and brimstone? Or is that in your imagination too?

Malone and McCoskrie are excellent guys and have a great deal of knowledge - attempting to attack their character or affiliations won't get you anywhere I think...

"Even mainstream believers find the ‘anti-abortion’ rhetoric over-powering."

yes, you're right mate, but this is because a huge percentage of mainstream "believers" are apathetic unbelievers.

See what you're saying though about tempering the message a little, and I agree - but only if it can be done without compromising the message.

Cheers, and you have a good Christmas season too.

2:00 pm, December 09, 2009 

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