Dear Mr Patterson
Re: Complaint against the Abortion Supervisory Committee
I wish to lay a complaint against the Abortion Supervisory Committee, for declining to ensure that women considering an abortion are informed that the abortion procedure
“Will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
There have been three letters from our Society to the Committee on this important issue, [copies enclosed]. In the latest letter, dated 27 August 2009 from the Committee, the Committee stated that, “On the matter provided by counsellors to women, the Committee has noted your suggestion.” Our Society has taken that response to be that the Committee declines to take action to implement our Society’s request.
The Committee in its reply of 16 July 2009, stated “The ASC does not consider the introduction of such a policy, which it does not consider to be consistent with its functions under the Act.” Our Society, challenges this assertion. The Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, s 14  [e], requires the Committee, “to take all reasonable and practicable steps to ensure that sufficient and adequate facilities are available throughout New Zealand for counselling women who may seek advice in relation to abortion:” The Committee in 1998 issued an update of its “Standards of Practice for the Provision of Counselling.” The Committee appoints a Counselling Advisor who visits institutions licensed to perform abortions; it therefore has responsibility and accountability for the quality and accuracy of the information given by that Advisor and the formation of the clinic staff, by that Advisor. This is where the policy of the Committee is made apparent to the staff, who are employed to give counselling.
We also believe that the Committee, as the body appointed by Parliament, to oversee the administration of the abortion laws in New Zealand also has an important duty to ensure that women who terminate the lives of their unborn children by abortion receive protection of their Code of Health Rights.
It is contended that failure to provide this information to women considering an abortion is a breach of Right 6 of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer’s Rights.
Women are entitled to know that the abortion procedure will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being. The anecdotal evidence given by women who have been through the abortion procedure is that they are told by counsellors that it is not a baby and not a human being, just a group of cells and a potential baby, the contents of the uterus and the fruit of pregnancy. Many women have told our Society that this false information mislead them and that if they had been given accurate information they would not have chosen to have an abortion.
Women are entitled to accurately consider their decisions. It is contended that if women are denied information about the humanity of their unborn child they will be ill equipped to properly consider alternatives to abortion such as adoption and parenting.
Our Society believes that withholding this information is also in breach of Right 7, the right to give an informed consent. How can a woman give an informed consent to the killing of her unborn child when she has been told that the child is not a human being? We believe that in the abortion industry we are faced with a culture of denial on the humanity of the unborn child.
The statement that an abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique living human being is factually correct. Abortion results in the killing of a human being. The child is a separate human being that is in control of the pregnancy, the child is not part of the mother’s body. The child is unique, it has its own distinctive DNA, own finger prints and own blood type. It is an unrepeatable miracle of creation. The child is undoubtedly human, being the child and offspring of human parents.
According to Statistics New Zealand in the abortion statistics released on 16 June 2009, 46 per cent of abortions in 2008 were performed in the 9th week of gestation or earlier.
At 6 weeks the child’s heart is beating and at 8 weeks the child’s brain is functioning.
Right to Life believes that women considering an abortion have a legal right to be given the outlined information to comply with the requirements of Right 6 and Right 7. In the first instance we believe that there is an obligation on counsellors to be open and transparent with information given to women. We are aware that many women considering an abortion do not avail themselves of the opportunity to receive counselling. As it is the responsibility of certifying consultants who authorise and generally perform abortions to obtain an informed consent, the requirement to provide the information to women considering an abortion is an obligation imposed on all certifying consultants. In support of our complaint find enclosed a letter from Dr Norman Mclean, formerly the director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Southland District Health Board.
Our Society believes that if the requested information was given to women considering an abortion, many women would choose life for their baby and be spared a lifetime of regret and sorrow. We urge you in the interest of vulnerable women and their unborn to uphold our complaint.