The Ombudsman, Professor Ron Patterson in a recent decision, has ruled that the Southern District Health Board [SDHB] had a statutory duty to consult with the community of Southland before seeking a licence to perform abortions at the Southland Hospital. The Ombudsman was responding to a complaint made by the pro-life group Southlanders for Life. Abortions have been performed at the Southland Hospital since 15 June 2012. The SDHB had unbeknown to the community, sought a abortion licence in the belief that it was an extension of an existing ‘service’ established in the Dunedin Hospital.
The Ombudsman said the SDHB had an obligation to consult under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000, however, the Ombudsman conceded that it was now too late for the SDHB to consult with the community. Southlanders for Life were aware in making the complaint against the SDHB that the Board had a legal obligation to consult in terms of the Public Consultation Guidelines for District Health Boards issued by the Ministry of Health in December 2011, which states that:
“As a general rule , it is wise to consult where a decision has significant public consequences or a major impact on the community to which the decision relates .”
Right to Life believes that the decision of the Ombudsman has important implications for every community in New Zealand where the District Health Board has abortion facilities.
Right to Life is unaware of any Health Board consulting with its community before seeking an abortion licence.
It should be known that there is no legal obligation for a District Health Board to provide a killing centre for the unborn in its Hospitals. There are twenty-one District Health Boards in New Zealand, the following of which do not have a killing centre; West Coast, South Canterbury, Hutt Valley, Wanganui and Lakes.
Right to Life contends that District Health Boards have a duty to consult with their community not only prior to establishing killing centres, but also before it seeks a renewal of its annual abortion licence.
Communities have a duty to defend the lives of the vulnerable in their community. The most vulnerable in our community are our unborn who are the most defenceless members of the human family. Abortion should be recognized as violence against vulnerable women and their unborn. We have a duty to rescue those who are being dragged to their death, We should not delay in coming to their aid! Communities are encouraged to protest constantly and fearlessly to their Health Board and to government at having a child killing centre in their hospital. Hospitals should be places of healing not killing.
Right to Life,