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Former Miss Samoa condemns abortion bill

Former Miss Samoa and Miss Pacific Islands Latafale Auva’a has condemned the New Zealand government following the passage of an abortion bill through New Zealand's parliament. 

Members of Parliament in New Zealand voted overwhelmingly in favour of the Abortion Legislation Bill. 

Following an emotion charged debate the bill passed 94-23.

“For my brothers and sisters in faith, today is a sad day and I call you to pray for New Zealand and the government," Ms. Auva’a said in a social media post. 

“I’m so discouraged to see the passing of the first reading of the abortion bill in New Zealand and coupled with the recent End of Life Bill.”

Ms. Auva’a is the first woman to hold four Pacific regional titles: Miss Samoa New Zealand 2014, Miss Samoa 2014, Miss Pacific Islands 2014 and Miss World Samoa 2015

“I realise I need to encourage those younger than me not to be afraid of sharing your faith, opinion or belief which may stand against these bills," the former beauty queen continued. 

"As a young Pacific Christian I look to older leaders in Parliament to champion moral and ethical values that I hold and also, that I believe both Pasefika and the Christian community hold in New Zealand."

Debate on right-to-life issues has raged on Samoan social media this week, following the discovery of a dead infant floating on the sea at Lauli’i.

Ms Auva’a  called on the faith communities to share stories of redemption, Grace and purpose at a time where there is so much confusion, disagreement and anger in our broken world.

She acknowledged the New Zealand Members of Parliament, Fonoti Agnes Loheni , Jenny Salesa  and Anahila Suisuiki for voting against the bill. 

She also expressed sadness to see the Minister for Pacific People, Aupito William Sio, vote in favour of the bill. 

Prior to the passing of the bill, Fonoti said in Parliament that good laws serve to protect the vulnerable in our society. 

“How could it ever be out of date to want to protect the life of an unborn child?" said Fonoti. 

“What little protections the unborn child currently has must not be let go. The act of aborting a child is a serious act. It should be treated with the utmost gravity. 

“It should ordinarily be rare, and it should be subject to an informed process that requires each and every one of us to question our decision before we choose a path that is permanent and may lead to lifelong consequences.

"I am clear that the law as it stands serves mothers and their unborn children." 

In a National H.I.V., A.I.D.S., and S.T.I. Policy 2017-2022 released last year, the Ministry of Health argued that abortion was critical for victims of rape and sex crimes. 

 “Abortion is illegal in Samoa," the report read. 

“Access to abortion services is critical to the health and well being of [people living with] HIV, dealing with a sexually transmitted infection, and survivors of rape and incest.

“Laws around abortion need to be amended to adequately address access to abortion for HIV positive women, and legal interventions for increasing access to Sexual Assault and [sexual reproductive health services] need to be developed.”

But Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi was adamant that Samoa will never legalise abortion. 

“Although I am not privy to the report containing these recommendations, it will not change the government standpoint,” he said.

“I pray that this is the last time that these issues are brought to the government and my attention because it’s a useless waste of government stationery and time to acknowledge or even to respond to such suggestions.”

In Australia, a bill legalising abortion this week also passed the lower house of parliament in the country's largest state NSW.

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