Abortion Supervisory Committee,
Private Bag 32001,
Thank you for your reply of 7 April, 2009. We acknowledge that it would be inappropriate for your Committee to make comment about an application for an abortion licence from the Family Planning Association in the absence of an application being made. In view of the publicly stated intention of the Association to make an application we request that our letter of 26 March be held over to be considered by your Committee at the time an application for an abortion licence is received by your Committee.
It is noted that our Society’s concerns and questions concerning the eligibility of doctors employed by Family Planning being appointed by your Committee have not been responded to.
We are aware that for more than ten years, that the Family Planning Association has had an employment policy that it employs only doctors who believe that the decision to have an abortion is the prerogative of the woman in consultation with a doctor of her choice. It is the opinion of this Society that a doctor who holds such a view would be ineligible for appointment as a certifying consultant in terms of the Contraception Sterilisation & Abortion Act, 1977, [CS&A Act], s 30  [b]. which states that the following views shall be considered incompatible…
“That the question of whether an abortion should or should not be performed in any case is entirely a matter for the woman and a doctor to decide.”
This is an important issue and it raises several critical questions.
Our Society would be grateful if you would advise if the employment policy of the Association precludes the appointment of doctors employed by the Association being appointed by your Committee as certifying consultants to meet the requirements of s 30  [b].?
Was your Committee previously aware of the employment policy of the Family Planning Association?
In the event of doctors employed by the Association being precluded from appointment as certifying consultants because of the constraints of s 30  [b] of the CS & A Act 1977, what action does your Committee intend to take, firstly in respect of existing consultants and secondly in respect to any future applications of doctors employed by the Association for appointment as certifying consultants?
Your Committee, in 2002 issued “Guidelines for the Use of Mifepristone for Medical Abortion in New Zealand” It would be appreciated if you would advise if these Guidelines are currently required to be complied with by abortion providers.
Thank you for your assistance with this enquiry.