A Hastings family have gone to the police after their 12-year-old daughter was given a rubber foetus and anti-abortion pamphlets by protesters while walking home in her intermediate school uniform.
Jane Hannam, 12, was walking home from Heretaunga Intermediate with a friend last Thursday when they were approached by a female protester outside Hawke's Bay Hospital and given a rubber foetus and information card about foetal development.
Her parents, Brian and Zarlene Hannam, said it was disgusting that protesters would target young school-aged children and made a complaint to Hastings police.
"We just found her playing with this toy foetus," Mrs Hannam said. "It was sort of like a really soft spongy flesh-coloured foetus. I just think that's disgusting.
"Everyone is allowed to protest and I don't have any problem about that, but what they gave out was really inappropriate."
Eastern District Police communications manager Kris McGehan said police were looking into the matter.
Pro-Life Hawke's Bay supporter Paula Grant said protesters made an effort to avoid the intermediate children by removing a box of information packs during a specific time about 3pm, but if asked directly by students, they would hand them out.
"We try and work to the bus timetable [to avoid the intermediate-aged children] but there are mistakes that are made," she said. "We try to not overstep what parents are teaching at home, but with that said, we are making a protest against abortion."
Mrs Grant remembered being approached by a group of girls last Thursday and said she gave them the "babies" when they asked.
"We don't give out packs to the younger ones, but if they ask for a little baby I will give them to them," she said.
When Mrs Hannam contacted Heretaunga Intermediate School, she was told other students had also been approached by the protesters and given similar items in the past.
"As parents we have to give permission to have any religious or sexual talks at school, and here is someone giving someone who is obviously a minor dressed in school uniform something that we wanted to do ourselves, or at least have some control of what she is being taught," Mrs Hannam said.
Mrs Grant, who often pickets outside the hospital gates with a core group of others, said they may look into a policy to stop handing out information to intermediate-aged children.
"It is not our intention to educate 12 year olds but they can access that stuff on the computer and most of them know it anyway."
Heretaunga Intermediate School staff were unable to be reached.
- HAWKE'S BAY TODAY