Further to our correspondence of the 29 March and 19 May 2007 we wish to draw your attention to the following. Our Society has recently conducted research into the issue of women considering an abortion being offered the opportunity of viewing an ultrasound scan of their child before signing a consent form for an abortion. The following District Health Boards [DHBs] advised that women considering an abortion were offered the opportunity of viewing a scan. The DHBs were Otago, Hawkes Bay and Taranaki. The following DHB’s advised that women were not offered the opportunity to view their ultrasound scan unless they specifically asked for it; they were Auckland, Waikato, Wairarapa and Canterbury.
Our Society wrote to the Minister of Health on 12 November 2008 requesting that consideration be given to directing all DHB’s that provide abortion facilities to introduce a protocol whereby all women considering an abortion be actually offered the opportunity to view a scan of their baby. The Minister replied on 26 November 2008, copy enclosed, and recommended that we take this important issue up with your Committee.
Our Society is pleased that a number of DHB’s are giving women considering an abortion the option to view a scan of their baby. As previously mentioned studies done in the United States reveal that where a woman considering an abortion is given the opportunity to view a scan of her baby between 62 and 90 per cent of women chose life for their baby.
We concur with the Minister of Health of Health that these variations may be most appropriately addressed to your committee. We are aware that the Committee commendably believes that our abortion figures are too high. In the interest of the lives of our unborn children we respectfully request that you give consideration to making it a requirement that women considering an abortion be offered the opportunity to view a scan of their baby prior to signing a consent form for an abortion. We also suggest that the consent form shows that the woman was offered the opportunity of seeing a scan of her baby.