Human Rights Abuses
The Human Rights Act 1993 prohibits "discrimination due to pregnancy", but there is a specific provision to exempt immigration matters. But within the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are provisions for protection based on gender. If throwing out a woman because she's pregnant isn't a contravention of that what is - is the 1993 Act contrary to international conventions?
According to Kerry Williamson in the Dominion Post:
"Virginie Breuzard will be forced to return to France in three weeks, have her baby in her home country, then return to Nelson to finish her studies.
She feels she is being discriminated against because she is not sick – just pregnant. "I'm not sick, not at all. It's because I am pregnant that they are kicking me out."
Ms Breuzard, 28, came to New Zealand in September to complete an NZQA-registered aromatherapy course in Nelson, the only one of its kind available in the Asia-Pacific region, after a year of distance learning from Indonesia, where her husband ran a company.
She admits she was pregnant when she arrived in the country on a visitor's visa, but was unaware that it would be a problem. As part of her application to Immigration New Zealand, she sent a letter from her insurer and Nelson Hospital stating that her medical costs would be met.
Her school, Aromaflex, also wrote to Immigration telling them she needed to be in the country for six months to complete the course and sit an exam.
Seven weeks later, Immigration wrote telling her she had been refused a study visa because she did not meet health requirements and that she would need to leave the country to give birth. Ms Breuzard must leave by November 24, because doctors say she should not fly after that due to her pregnancy.
"I'm very angry," she said. "And because I've told the truth about being pregnant, they are kicking me out. They have told me, `You give birth somewhere else and then you come back.' It's discrimination."
The Immigration website states pregnant visitors to New Zealand "are not considered to have an acceptable standard of health as it is likely you will impose significant costs and demands on New Zealand's health services."
An Immigration spokesman said that whether a person had health insurance was irrelevant, and that the policy was in place to limit demand on hospitals.
"Aligned to this there have been regional shortages of antenatal care in New Zealand in recent years."
Are the provisions for ante natal care really so tight that even privately funded births can't be accommodated? and what about the thousands of New Zealand women who give birth every year in countries overseas, thereby relieving pressure on their own health service? What would happen if they were all sent home?
I'm sure that in an ideal situation Ms Breuzard would far prefer to have her baby in France but had made the trip to New Zealand to study a very specialised course, her baby won't have NZ citizenship either so there's probably no 'agenda' here, there appears to have been no intention to deceive on her part.
It's time to improve the maternity provision for all women in New Zealand if it hasn't even got the capacity to accommodate privately funded women such as Ms Breuzard.
Pregnant women ordered out of New Zealand
NZ Human Rights Record Under UN Microscope
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