15 August 2008
Right to Life New Zealand asks when is the Abortion Supervisory Committee going to fulfil it’s statutory duty to protect the health and welfare of women and to ensure that all abortions are lawful.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee is deliberately ignoring a High Court judgment that put the Committee on notice for failing to fulfil its statutory duties. Justice Miller in the High Court in his judgment on 9 June stated that; “there is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants. Indeed, the Committee itself has stated that the law is being used more liberally than Parliament intended.” He also stated that “In my opinion, the statistics and the Committee’s comments over the years since the Court of Appeal made that observation do give rise to powerful misgivings about the lawfulness of many abortions. They tend to confirm Dr Christine Forster’s view that New Zealand essentially has abortion on request.” Dr Forster was the chairperson of the Abortion Supervisory Committee.
The Committee has repeatedly stated that it does not have the power to review or scrutinise the decisions of certifying consultants and when faced with the high abortion rate in New Zealand has stated that “the Committee does not have the power to alter the situation.” Justice Miller held that the Committee had misinterpreted its functions and powers and does in fact have the power to review and scrutinise the decisions of certifying consultants. It may require consultants to keep records and report on cases they have considered. Consultants are accountable for the lawfulness of the abortions they authorise and may be questioned on the use of mental health grounds used to authorise 98% of abortions, to provide abortion on demand.
Abortion is violence against vulnerable women and their unborn children. Since the judgment of the High Court more than 3,000 innocent and defenceless unborn New Zealanders have been deprived of their lives. Right to Life believes that many of these abortions are unlawful. This is an appalling violation of human rights.
Right to Life is confident that the decision of the High Court will be upheld by the Court of Appeal. It is deplorable that in the meantime the Committee is failing to exercise its powers to protect vulnerable women and their unborn by fulfilling its duty to ensure that unlawful abortions and abortion on demand are stopped.
Right to Life New Zealand Inc.