Complaint – Abortion Supervisory Committee
I wish to lodge a complaint against the Abortion Supervisory Committee for refusing to provide our Society with a copy of a letter received by the Committee from Dr Simon Snook dated 22 November 2013. The Committee has declined our request under section 9 [ba] [i] to protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence. I have enclosed for your information copies of the relevant correspondence.
In support of my complaint I wish to make the following submission.
I have serious reservations about the suspect defence now being offered by Dr Snook and accepted by the Committee.
Dr Snook has been appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee as a certifying consultant. He has a statutory duty to authorise abortions in accordance with the requirements of the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 and with the Crimes Act 1961. He has thus been given the responsibility of deciding, which children shall live and which children will be killed.
A certifying consultant may only be appointed, if he or she provides a written declaration to the Committee that he or she does not hold views on abortion that do not comply with the legislation. A doctor, who believes that abortion is a woman’s choice, is precluded from appointment as a certifying consultant.
Dr Simon Snook has seen fit to express his views on abortion to the monthly magazine, North & South. Many readers are concerned and disturbed at the statements made by Dr Snook.
His quoted statements deny the human rights of unborn children and endorse abortion as a woman’s right to choose. Abortions authorised on the grounds that it is the woman’s right to choose are unlawful. Dr Snook’s statement infers that many children are being deprived of their lives unlawfully; this is a very serious justice issue. His statements call into question his fitness to hold an appointment as a certifying consultant.
The Committee has advised our Society that they have accepted the written explanation of Dr Snook, that he has been misquoted. If this is correct, why has the Committee not joined with Dr Snook in seeking an apology from the Editor of North & South for this alleged serious distortion of the statement of Dr Snook? I have serious reservations about the suspect defence now being offered by Dr Snook and accepted by the Committee.
The issue of the killing of defenceless and innocent unborn children is a very controversial justice issue in our community. It is therefore imperative that the Committee is transparent in fulfilling its functions and is accountable to the community. It is of the utmost importance that the performance of abortion must be subject to public scrutiny and that the legislation is being faithfully upheld for the health and welfare of women and for the protection of the right to life of unborn children.
Dr Snook having made a highly controversial public statement in a national magazine, has forfeited his privacy and should not object to his letter of defence being provided to this Society.
The Committee claims that the letter is refused “to protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence and making this information available would likely prejudice the supply of similar information from the same source, and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied.” This assertion is challenged. Dr Snook has no right to demand that his letter in his defence should be subject to confidentiality, nor has the Committee a right to provide an assurance of confidentiality. The Committee as a statutory body has a legal right to expect that certifying consultants appointed by the Committee should on request provide the Committee with a written response to questions raised about the performance of their duties.
It is important that Right to Life be provided with a copy of Dr Snook’s letter as we wish to pursue the important issues raised by the contentious statement of Dr Snook quoted in the magazine North & South.