On 18 April 2011, Catherine Ryan interviewed Dame Margaret Sparrow on a Radio New Zealand show. In the introduction to this interview Ms Ryan stated that Dr Sparrow had been subject to vilification from the Right to Life lobby.
Ken Orr of Right to Life has written to the director of Radio NZ, requesting that action be taken over what he believes to be a breach of Broadcasting Standards. Radio NZ is one of New Zealand’s state-run, state-funded radio stations. Ken writes,
“…This is a very serious accusation, the Oxford dictionary states that the meaning of this word is, abusively disparaging speech or writing.
The interviewer was specific in identifying the Right to Life lobby as the group responsible for the vilification of Dame Margaret. I am the spokesperson for Right to Life and I have been actively involved in the pro-life movement for 37 years, Our Society is totally opposed to the vilification or denigration of any person involved in the pro-abortion movement. I am not aware of our Society or any other pro-life organisation engaging in the vilification of Dame Margaret. Our Society is actively involved in upholding the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death. Dame Margaret was for many years an abortionist at the Parkview Abortion Clinic in Wellington. Our Society is opposed to the killing of unborn children, however it would be unethical to personally attack or vilify either in speech or writing, Dame Margaret or any other medical practitioner involved with the performance of abortions. Our Society has had a long association in writing with the Abortion Supervisory Committee and I am confident that they would readily confirm my statement. I know Dame Margaret personally and believe that she would also confirm my statement.
The accusation made by the interviewer is defamatory and is offensive to the members of this Society. It is the opinion of this Society that the accusation is in breach of the Broadcasting Standards, Standard 5, Accuracy and Standard 7, Discrimination and Denigration…”
Talk about a cheap shot. Good on Ken for taking Radio NZ to task. It’s not like this is anything new. Pro-lifers are constantly barraged with unfair, exaggerated accusations by supporters of “a woman’s right to choose”.
Number five of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” reads, “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.” Essentially, if you can’t defeat their argument with reason and logic, turn to ridicule – or in this interviewer’s case, defamation.
It’s hard not to vilify Dame Margaret Sparrow. She has personally murdered more people than anyone else in New Zealand. Approximately 30,000 pre-born children’s lives have been brutally ended at her hands. However Right to Life has always been very careful not to stoop to personal attacks – in fact on the announcement of her retirement as president of ALRANZ in March, Right to Life offered a (perhaps excessively friendly) farewell,
“Right to Life wishes to extend its best wishes to Dame Margaret Sparrow on the occasion of her handing over the leadership of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand to Dr Morgan Healey. Our Society acknowledges her passionate dedication and commitment to the interests of women over 32 years as President of ALRANZ, we do not however agree with her vision…”
Right to Life has absolutely not vilified Dame Margaret Sparrow – Radio New Zealand needs to issue a formal apology, or else surrender whatever credibility they may still have been hanging on to.
One thought on “NZ Govt. Radio Defames Right to Life”
Now, I haven’t heard the interview, but were the exact words used “Right to Life lobby”? If so, I imagine what was actually said was “right-to-life lobby” – note the absence of capital letters. In that case, this incident would be a misunderstanding based on confusing a reference to the “movement” as a whole with a reference to a specific organisation. If someone were to write a letter to an MP (or to go on TV, perhaps) advocating that all abortion be made illegal because it kills an “unborn child”, that person would be part of the “right-to-life lobby” even if they weren’t a member of the lobby group “Right to Life”. You yourself, by virtue of having a public website and uploading Youtube videos, qualify, independent of your relationship with Right to Life. Given that you also vilify Ms. Sparrow in this blog post, and that it’s very likely that many other people in the “right-to-life lobby” (no caps) have done the same, then, if those were the words used, I think they were justified.
Of course, perhaps I’m wrong; it could be that “the lobby group Right to Life” was the phrase used in the interview. In which case none of the above is particularly relevant.