Abortion is "quite possibly the worst form of child abuse imaginable" a paediatrician about to start work in the Bay of Plenty says, but others say a law change is "long overdue".
Dr Viliame Sotutu is among 23,000 people who wrote submissions on the Abortion Legislation Bill ahead of last month's cut-off.
Some submissions have now been published online, including views of Western Bay of Plenty churches, Voice for Life Waihi and Family Planning.
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If passed, the bill would decriminalise abortion across New Zealand and allow women who are up to 20 weeks pregnant to have an abortion without going through legal hoops.
Currently those wanting abortion services need to be referred by a doctor or Family Planning, but the bill would allow them to refer themselves.
Dr Viliame Sotutu, who is returning from Australia to a new role in Whakatāne this month, wrote to the Abortion Legislation Committee saying: "as a paediatrician, I must advocate for our babes who have no voice".
He said abortion was a "cruel process" and whether a baby was wanted or not was "immaterial" in his opinion.
"This [abortion] is quite possibly the worst form of child abuse imaginable when the gory, barbaric steps of what a child suffers are fully understood."
Dr Sotutu, a New Zealand citizen with more than 25 years of professional experience, said the country's health system supported pregnant mothers to be as healthy as possible and attended to babies with growth retardation, heart and kidney conditions, and infections.
"I am bewildered therefore and utterly dismayed, that at the very same time... we are ready to destroy other babesin the womb in the most callous of ways. What an awful contradiction."
He said legitimising abortion was in "flagrant disregard of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child, and would send a message "that children's lives are expendable".
"I have grave concerns about the culture of death that we are cultivating through our laws."
"I have had mothers tell me of their own traumatic experiences when, unexpectedly, they have passed their baby's utterly recognisable body parts which were not completely removed during the abortion procedure," he said.
Dr Sotutu said women with unwanted pregnancies, and their whānau needed to be supported "holistically, materially, and longitudinally".
"A high view of life embraced by society might see a woman do a 'heroic' thing by carrying an inconvenient/unwanted child through the pregnancy".
Family Planning, the country's largest abortion referral agency, submitted in support of the bill.
It has also been an abortion provider in Tauranga since 2013.
Chief executive Jackie Edmond wrote that passing the bill would be "long overdue".
"A new law for abortion will not change the number of women who seek an abortion, but will allow health practitioners to provide evidence-based care.
"It will allow pregnant people to provide informed consent for abortion, in consultation with their health practitioner, aligning abortion law and practice in New Zealand with modern understanding of bodily autonomy, privacy, and human rights," she wrote.
Edmond recommended the bill be made inclusive [of the sexual orientation spectrum] by referring to pregnant people rather than women.
Abortion rights advocate Scott Summerfield also wrote in support of the bill.
He said some people from the Tauranga and wider Bay of Plenty area were having to travel to Thames to get abortions, creating "undue pressure" and "unfair standards of care".
"Parliament needs to address the failings of our current health system which has led to remarkably inconsistent abortion services around the country," he wrote.
He said New Zealand women had been punished for having abortions "for far too long" under current laws "that unnecessarily restricts the autonomy... greatly inconveniences and removes the privacy of people accessing abortion, and attacks [their] dignity".
Summerfield said pregnant people needed to be trusted, not treated as "objects".
He also said the World Health Organisation (WHO) identified the need for safe and accessible abortion services on both public health and human rights grounds.
He recommended a 150m safe access zone be established to exclude protesters around the premises of abortion facilities and that the Ministry of Health maintain a public list of all medical practitioners who refused to support the right of their patients to have an abortion, so that pregnant people could avoid going to them.
Rodger Snodgrass, a Tauranga Christian, said his reasons for writing a submission against the bill were "pretty simple".
"Life is God's to give and God's to take away and not for man's to decide. To interfere will bring God's curse upon this nation. We as a nation will suffer," he told the Bay of Plenty Times.
He said he opposed abortion for same reasons he opposed euthanasia: "because interfering with life and death is to start 'playing God'."
Forty-four members and attendees of Golden Sands Baptist Church, from Tauranga, Te Puke, Pāpāmoa and Mount Maunganui, signed a collective submission against the bill, stating it made "no consideration anywhere for the life that an abortion ends".
"In the proposed bill there are no safeguards to prevent sex-selective abortion on the grounds of disability... This is by any other definition, eugenics."
Speaking to the Bay of Plenty Times about the submission, lead pastor Colin Gruetzmacher said it did not represent the church in its entirety and some within the church supported the bill.
"The last thing we want to do is cause more hurt or shame for women. We have nothing but compassion for those who are considering or have had abortions."
The Kirk Session of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, Tauranga Congregation, made a submission opposed to the bill.
It said: "Abortion, except when the life of the mother is endangered, is the slaying of a child in the womb [and] a breach of the divine law 'Thou shalt not kill.'"
"The state or government that cares most for the vulnerable in society is the one that is most honoured."
Alisha Amann, from Tauranga, wrote that the bill dehumanised babies.
She said as a woman she disagreed with the 'her body, her choice' argument.
"What about the rights of the body that is inside of her?"
She said adoption was always another option for pregnant mothers and Amann and her husband had taken interest in it, to start a family.
Voice for Life Waihi also opposed the bill and hoped to see adoption rates increase in New Zealand.
Tauranga couple Norman and Barbara Sutton wrote that abortion was "a violation of common standards of ethical medical practice".
"This approach is not conducive to building a healthy civil society".
Gerald Coombes from Te Puke wrote in his submission that the bill should ban all abortions after 20 weeks pregnancy, and that those under 16 should need permission from parents or a guardian to have an abortion.
Abortion Legislation Committee deputy chair Amy Adams said the committee would aim to hear from as many people as possible who wanted to speak at upcoming hearings.
It will then complete a report on the submissions for Parliament, by February 8 next year.