Re Official Information Act – Request
Our Society is concerned at the withholding of important statistical information by your Committee in its report to Parliament for 2008. We note that the Committee has a statutory duty under the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, section 14. Functions and Powers of Supervisory committee,  [g], To obtain, monitor, analyse, collate, and disseminate information relating to the performance of abortions in New Zealand.
There are ten tables of statistics in the 2008 report, in the 2007 report there were sixteen tables which have been included in the Committee’s reports for many years.
Three of the omitted tables of particular importance are the table listing the reasons for the authorisation of the abortions. This table in previous reports revealed that 98% of abortions were authorised on the grounds of mental health. These statistics were of critical importance in obtaining a favourable judgment of the High Court in the Judicial Review of the performance of your Committee which declared that certifying consultants were using mental health grounds to provide an unlawful abortion on demand in New Zealand. Table seven listing the ethnicity of the women having an abortion has been withheld, as is table 15 which lists the procedures used for abortions. We are also concerned that table 8, Induced Abortions by Previous Abortions has been drastically changed to omit the number of repeat abortions after two. In the 2007 report it provided information on the number of abortions a woman had including up to eight previous abortions, this information was also of importance in our Judicial Review in the High Court.
We believe that Parliament and the public of New Zealand have a right to the statistical information that has been withheld. It is the view of this Society that the information withheld impedes a fuller understanding by Parliamentarians and citizens of the performance of abortion in New Zealand. This important issue raises several important questions.
- We request that the Committee reinstate the withheld statistical information in the Committee’s 2009 report to Parliament.
- Please confirm that the withheld statistical information is available to Statistics New Zealand?
- Kindly advise what were the reasons that your Committee had for withholding the statistical information?
In the interest of full regard being given to the rights of unborn children and for the welfare of women we wish to request under the Official Information Act the following information and documents;
- Please provide the statistical information for 2008, previously reported in the 2007 report as table 7, Abortion by Ethnicity of Women, table 13, Abortion by age and estimated duration of gestation, table 14, Abortion by grounds of authorisation and table 15, Abortions by procedure used.
- Please provide the statistical information for 2008, previously shown in the 2007 report under table 11?
- Please provide copies of the minutes of the Committee’s meetings subsequent to 11 April 2008?
Thank you for your assistance with this enquiry.