Saturday, June 10, 2023

Luxon’s Dilemma: When Politics and Ethics Don’t Match in Responding to Roe v Wade’s Overturning

The US Supreme Court’s recent decision to oust Roe v Wade, Aotearoa, is an issue of relevance to political leaders in New Zealand.

The decision was met with enthusiasm by abortion opponents here, including opposition national lawmaker Tamaki Simon O’Connor.

Pro-Choice groups like Abortion Rights Aotearoa (ALRANZ) expressed alarm for what this could signify, not only for American women but for our country.

This has put Leader of the Opposition Christopher Luxon in a dilemma. He found himself caught up in questions that shed light on his pro-life values, politics and integrity.

Luxon’s anti-abortion beliefs are no news. In the days following his election as party leader late last year, when asked to confirm whether abortion, from his point of view, was tantamount to murder, he clarified that “it was a pro-life position”. Is”.

Still, in recent days, Luxon has repeatedly and vehemently sought to reassure voters that National will not pursue changes to this country’s abortion laws if it should win a government.

Abortion is legal in Aotearoa, decriminalized in 2020 within the framework of the Abortion Laws Act. It is clear that Luxon hopes his assurances will please the majority of New Zealanders who like the position as voted in 2019.

Read more: The end of Roe vs. Wade will likely encourage global anti-abortion activists and politicians

Theory and Pragmatism in Leadership

It has long been argued that good leadership is based on strength of character, a clear moral compass, and integrity—in other words, consistency between one’s words and actions.

Whether a leader has the intelligence to assess what is pragmatically wise action in a situation upholding key values, or what is politically safe and expedient, provides insight into their character.

Over time, we can discern whether they lean more strongly toward being values-based or if they align with Machiavelli’s controversial advice: that a leader must look good, but maintain power. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to sustain yourself. place.

Of course both ideas have some role to play because no one is perfect. We must look for a matter of degree or emphasis. A more strongly Machiavellian orientation is associated with toxic leadership.

Read more: Roe v Wade reversed: what abortion access and reproductive rights look like around the world

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has characterized herself as a “pragmatic idealist”. His track record indicates a willingness to accept considerable political heat in defense of core values. This is seen, for example, in their continued advocacy of COVID-related health measures such as vaccine mandates and managed isolation, even when doing so was not a politically expedient route.

Luxon’s leadership track record in the public sector is much less extensive. Much is unknown or untested about what kind of leader he is. Of course, being the Leader of the Opposition is very different from the role of the Prime Minister.

However, in his first speech Laxon described his Christianity as something that anchors him and shapes his values, while also arguing that politicians should not try to impose their beliefs on others.

His reaction to this week’s controversy proves that he is willing to put aside his personal values ​​for the sake of politically appropriate things. This shows that he is less idealistic and more practical.

Given anti-abortion beliefs, this may come as a relief to the pro-election lobby. But what if the political math changes?

the matter is not resolved

New Zealand’s constitutional and legal systems differ from those of the US, but the Supreme Court’s decision proves that it is possible to withdraw access to abortion.

Even if Laxon’s current assurances are sincere, it may not persist to replace the wider political acceptance of his personal beliefs. And on that front, there are grounds for concern.

The Gender Attitudes Survey of the National Council of Women 2021 revealed a clear increase in more conservative, anti-egalitarian attitudes. Researchers from the Propaganda Project also found that sexist and anti-women topics are strongly involved in conspiracy-laden propaganda in New Zealand.

If these kinds of changes in public opinion continue to gather steam, it may be more politically appropriate for Luxon to shift gears regarding New Zealand’s abortion laws.

In such a situation, the right to abortion simply cannot be in jeopardy. A 2019 survey in the US showed a strong correlation between anti-abortion or “pro-life” stances and more general anti-egalitarian views.

It is clear that Luxon aims to reassure the public that they have no intention of pushing for change in our abortion laws. But his apparent readiness to set aside personal beliefs in favor of what is politically feasible also suggests that, if the political landscape changes, so may his stance.

This raises a broader question: if a leader is willing to give up a potentially sincerely held conviction in order to gain more votes, what other values ​​matter to the electorate, they may relinquish in the pursuit of political power. Can you be ready?

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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