Right to Life is disappointed that the Ministry of Justice has refused a request made by the Society to the Abortion Supervisory Committee under the Official Information Act. The request was to provide the names and qualifications of persons appointed by the Committee to a new Abortion Standards Advisory Committee. The refusal represents a serious threat to our civil liberties. The public have a right in a free society to know who are appointed to government bodies and what their qualifications are.
The secret members of this committee were appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee under the authority of the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act. Members are paid for their services from the public purse.
The Prime Minister, Helen Clark consistently maintains that government should be open and transparent. It is an outrage that her government is now denying the people of New Zealand the right to know who these secret members are and what there qualifications are.
The Standards Committee is very important; its duty is to develop standards for the provision of abortion services in New Zealand. These standards could influence the lawfulness of abortions and affect the health and welfare of vulnerable women and the lives of their unborn children.