Abortion Supervisory Committee.
Dear Ms Cole
Nov 20th 2018
Official Information Act –Request.
Thank you for your response of 9 November concerning data reported by the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee [ PMMRC ].
I am aware of the procedure for the compilation of statistical information sourced from form ASC4 submitted by operating surgeon, but thank you for your explanation.
I wish to request under the Official Information Act the following information:-
What evidence does the Committee have to justify withholding statistical information from the Committee’s annual report on the number of abortions performed for each week of gestation over 20 weeks when the information is currently provided by the PMMRC in its annual report?
Concerning other matters, It is noted that the PMMRC report for 2017 revealed that there were 148 abortions post 20 weeks reported for the calendar year 2016. It is also noted that the report of your Committee for 2017 revealed that there were 76 abortions post 20 weeks reported. There is a difference of 72 abortions reported which raises important questions, is this indicating that operating surgeons are failing to report these abortions or that they are being reported with incorrect information concerning the gestational age of the unborn child? Is your Committee concerned about this major discrepancy and what action is the Committee going to take to investigate this matter?
It is acknowledged that the PMMRC reports on statistics provided to it by operating surgeons in compliance with their statutory duty to report all abortions post 20 weeks and the reasons for the abortions. While the definitions used by the PMMRC differ from those by your Committee the number of abortions performed for fetal abnormality defined as Congenital abnormality reveal that there were 109 post 20 week abortions presumably authorised in 2016 on the grounds of fetal abnormality. According to the Crimes Act section 187A , these abortions were unlawful. Why is your Committee not prepared to investigate this serious revelation that unborn children are allegedly being deprived of their lives unlawfully?
Right to Life
2 November 2017
Ms Janet Whineray,
Obstetrics and Gynaecology,
Canterbury District Health Board,
Private Bag 4710,
Dear Ms Whineray
Official Information Act – Request
I wish to request under the Official Information Act the following information:-
A copy of the report of the official enquiry conducted by the Canterbury District Health Board into the serious allegations made by Mrs Harriet Jackson contained in an article in the NZ Herald on 27 October 2017 titled, On not choosing to have an abortion!
Mrs Jackson alleges that following a scan at 22 weeks her daughter Babette was diagnosed with a severe form of Spina Bifida. She was offered an abortion that day, it is not clear if she was offered counselling. Mrs Kackson was given no information about support groups who could provide assistance. It was alleged that your hospital has brochures available to give out from these three organisations that support families with Spina Bifida.
It would appear that clinicians had made a decision that this baby’s life should be terminated immediately on the day of the scan. The pressure to abort and the woman’s obligation to do so was very real.
Right to Life contends that it is unethical and unlawful for clinicians to offer to terminate the life of a child in utero when a woman has not requested an abortion. This imposes pressure on vulnerable women that they have a duty to comply with the advice of clinicians. It is also unlawful to authorise and perform an abortion after 20 weeks gestation on the grounds of disability.
It is noted that Mrs Jackson experienced an uncomplicated delivery with Babette at 42 weeks gestation.
Requests for abortions may be authorised by two certifying consultants only after full consideration of the rights of the unborn child.
I wish to also request the following information:-
- Why did clinicians impose pressure on Mrs Jackson to abort her child when the child did not present a threat to the health or life of the mother?
- On whose authority did these clinicians engage in eugenics and social engineering by offering an unlawful abortion?
- What efforts were made to obtain informed consent with information on alternatives to abortion and the potential complications that might follow from a late term abortion?
- Why were brochures from support organisations not given to Mrs Jackson?
- What action will you take to ensure that in the future no other women in your hospital will be subject to pressure to terminate the life of their child by being offered an abortion that they had not requested?
24 October 2017
Ms Jacinda Ardern,
Dear Ms Ardern,
On behalf of Right to Life I wish to congratulate you on your attaining the office of Prime Minister and wish you and your colleagues every success in governing New Zealand in the interest of the common good.
The End of Life Choice bill of the Hon. Maryan Street was placed in the ballot in July 2012, it was withdrawn from the ballot in September 2013 in order to remove a possible distraction to the general election on 21 September 2014.
In December 2014 the leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little warned Ian Lees Galloway MP not to return the euthanasia bill to the ballot.
In December 2016 Andrew Little wrote to Right to Life and advised that “euthanasia is a conscience issue, not a party political issue and it is not one of Labour’s priorities. This is why no Labour MP is introducing a bill to Parliament.
The select committee process allows members of the public to submit ideas for what any change in the law could look like. Louisa Wall was making use of this process as an individual as is her democratic right. It does not reflect Labour’s view and Labour will not be introducing a private member’s bill on euthanasia.”
I would be grateful if you would advise if this policy enunciated by Andrew Little is still Labour Party policy.
I would also be grateful if you would confirm that it is your intention not to place a government bill on the order paper which would seek to change the law to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide.
Thank you for all that you are doing to promote the common good.
2 August 2017
Ms Jacinda Ardern MP,
Leader of Labour Party.
Dear Ms Ardern
Congratulations on your election as the leader of the Labour Party. We wish you and your colleagues well as you prepare for a general election on 23 September 2017.
We believe that government for the people by the people entitles the electorate to have knowledge of the beliefs and aspirations of our leaders who seek a mandate from the people to govern.
On behalf of our members I would be grateful if you would kindly provide me with your response to the following important questions:-
- We are concerned that our current birth rate is 1.85 and below replacement level. Do you believe that the natural family of exclusively one woman and one man, the pro -creators of the next generation is the foundation of a healthy and continuing society and deserves the protection and encouragement of the state?
- In the event that you become the Prime Minister, what action would you take to protect and encourage the natural family of one woman and one man?
Thank you for all that you are doing to promote the common good.
Mr. Scott Inglis,
Bay of Plenty Times.
Dear Mr. Inglis
I wish to lodge a formal complaint against an article that was written by Zoe Hunter and which appeared in the Bay of Plenty Times on 29 June 2017. The title of the article was Act’s David Seymour talks euthanasia bill in Tauranga.
It is alleged that the article breached the Press Council’s Principle 1 Accuracy Fairness and Balance.
Euthanasia is about doctors killing their patients or assisting in their suicide. The article disguises the true meaning of assisted suicide and homicide by using euphemistic language with the intention of making lies acceptable and murder respectable. David Seymour used the term “assisted dying”, when a doctor gives a lethal injection to a person who may not be dying the intention is to kill the patient, not assist him to die.
Euthanasia is an extremely contentious social issue. The article lacks balance as it does not include any comment from any person or organization that is opposed to legalizing homicide.
The article undermines the government’s Suicide Prevention Strategy. The government is committed to reducing the high rate of suicide in New Zealand. In 2015/16, 579 people committed suicide, 59 were teenagers between the age of 10 and 19. We have the second highest rate of youth suicide in the OECD. the government recognises that suicide hurts families and communities.
Respect for the sanctity of life has been the foundation ethic for the practice of medicine for more than 2000 years. This ethic is sacrosanct and it is there for the protection of the community. The ethic recognises the intrinsic dignity of every human being. Suicide, self-murder is always wrong and can never be justified.
New Zealand has had a long-term commitment to suicide prevention, with activity guided by the New Zealand Suicide Prevention Strategy 2006–2016. The government is currently developing a new prevention strategy.
Why then is Parliament preparing to debate the End of Life Choice bill of David Seymour, that if passed would allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide? That refuses to recognise that for a doctor to assist a patient to kill himself or herself, is suicide and hides the criminal killing under the euphemism, ‘medical aid in dying”. The Member promotes his contentious and dangerous bill on the grounds of recognising “autonomy, my body and the right to choose”. This bill if passed would increase the number of suicides in New Zealand and increase the pain of families and communities.
The message that Parliament will be giving to the community and youth, is that Parliament approves of suicide and recognises your right to kill yourself if you are finding life intolerable. If passed the legislation would also recognise that there are some lives not worthy of living.
The article lacks fairness in that it presupposes that Parliament has a right to legislate to allow doctors to kill certain members of the community; this is a very serious and dangerous supposition. The media is at the service of the community and it is contended that The Bay of Plenty Times has a serious duty to promote the common good and to uphold the law of the land. Laws prohibiting assisting in a suicide or the taking of life are immutable laws that enshrine Judaeo Christian principles. It is contended that the first and only duty of good government is to uphold the right to life of every member of the community from conception to natural death and not to preside over our destruction. It is contended that Parliament does not have the authority to make laws determining who shall live and who shall die and to legislate to allow the strong to kill the weak. In my view, The Bay of Plenty Times has a duty to the community to explain why it believes Parliament has this right.
I believe that The Bay of Plenty Times is not fulfilling its duty;
- When it seeks to be neutral at a time when the community is under lethal attack from those who wish to replace the sanctity of life ethic with a new ethic that there are lives that are not worthy of living.
- When it fails to challenge those who claim that Parliament has the right to decide who shall live and who shall die.
- When it fails to defend the Crimes Act which provides legal protection for the right to life of every person from conception to natural death, especially the most vulnerable in our community, the elderly, the disabled and those who are seriously ill.
- When it fails to defend the ethics of the medical profession which prohibits as unethical the killing of patients.
- When it fails to expose the hypocrisy of those in Parliament who claim to support the government’s excellent Suicide Prevention Strategy while at the same time supporting proposed legislation that would provide government funded doctor assisted suicide.
Right to Life
16 July 2017
Mr Andrew Little MP,
Leader of Labour Party,
Dear Mr Little,
End of Life Choice bill
We are aware that in a recent NZ Herald parliamentary poll on the first reading of the End of Life Choice bill, you indicated that you would probably support the bill at its first reading if there were adequate safeguards provided in the bill.
Professor of Palliative Medicine Ilora Baroness Finlay of Landaff from the United Kingdom visited New Zealand in June and took part in a panel discussion at Parliament concerning David Seymour’s bill. She stated that the safeguards that have been built into legislation proposed in this bill, are not safeguards at all.
The bill seeks to eliminate coercion being exerted on a patient by family or others. Aged Concern have stated that there are a thousand subtle ways that patients can be coerced into believing that they are a burden on family and society that may not be perceived by a doctor who may not have met the patient previously.
The bill requires that doctors who have given a lethal injection to a patient or assisted in their suicide are required to report the death to the authorities. The onus is on the doctor to report his termination of the life of a patient, if the doctor chooses not to report it, who will know? There is no obligation on the patient to discuss his intention with family or friends to be assisted in suicide or being given a lethal injection.
A study conducted in Flanders in Belgium in 2007 and reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in May, 2010 found that 32 % of cases of euthanasia were not reported to the authorities.
76.7% – the physician did not perceive their act as euthanasia.
17.9% – reporting was considered an administrative burden.
11.9% – the legal, due care requirements, had possibly not all been met.
8.7% – euthanasia is a private matter between the physician and patient.
2.3% – because of legal consequences. It is interesting that 97.7% of the reported cases were done by the physician, whereas 41.3% of the unreported cases were done by a nurse alone, which is unlawful.
This confirms the result of the other recent study that found that 45% of euthanasia deaths that were done by nurses were without request or consent A similar study that examined how people died in the Flanders region of Belgium found that there were more than 1000 hastened deaths without explicit request and approximately 1380 unreported assisted deaths in 2013.
It is disturbing that the Belgian data indicate that more than 80% of the hastened deaths without explicit request were people with dementia, Alzheimer’s or coma, people who are incompetent to make decisions for themselves.
Every five years the Netherlands conducts a major study on euthanasia to determine how people die in the Netherlands and whether or not there are concerns with the euthanasia law.
The 2010 study that was published in the Lancet (11 July 2012) indicated that 23% of all assisted deaths were unreported in the Netherlands. If this trend continued, there may have been 1400 unreported assisted deaths in 2016.
The data from the 2015 study concerning ending-of-life decisions in the Netherlands was recently published. In 2015 there were 7254 assisted deaths (6672 euthanasia deaths, 150 assisted suicide deaths, 431 termination of life without request) and 18,213 deaths whereby the medical decisions that were intended to bring about the death.
There have been 52 euthanasia bills defeated in Australian state Parliaments since June 1993. A euthanasia bill was defeated at Westminister in 2015 by a resounding 330 to 118. In all these Parliaments the bills were defeated because there was a consensus that it was just too dangerous to legislate to allow doctors to kill their patients or assist in their suicide as it would threaten the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community, the aged, the disabled and the seriously ill, who would be in danger of being deprived of their lives without their consent.
It is noted with concern that according to the NZ Herald poll there are 13 Labour MPs who intend to vote for the first reading of the Seymour bill and 3 MPs who will probably vote yes. Euthanasia is intrinsically evil, it is a direct attack on the inherent dignity of every human being. Michael Joseph Savage and Peter Fraser great leaders of the Labour Party, would be mortified if they could see the Labour party supporting the killing of vulnerable people. In support of the common good and indeed for the good of the Labour Party, I urge you to vote against this contentious and dangerous bill. Thank you for all that you are doing to promote the common good.
Letter to David Seymour ACT Leader 19th October 2015
End of Life Choice Bill
I would be grateful if you would kindly provide a response to the following questions. I am the editor of our Society’s newsletter and I would like to convey your response to our 900 members.
Suicide is a serious health and social problem. In 2014 there were 569 suicides reported to the Coroner, the highest since suicide statistics were kept. The government recognises the desirability of reducing suicides in New Zealand through its important suicide prevention strategy. Your bill, should it be passed, would establish a right to doctor assisted suicide on the grounds of experiencing unbearable suffering. Do you then recognise the right of the 569 New Zealanders who resorted to suicide in 2014, presumably because of unbearable suffering?
The Clerk of the House in June directed the Parliamentary Health Select Committee to consider the petition of the Hon Maryan Street and 8974 others to investigate public attitudes on the subject of euthanasia. I believe that the Committee was providing the community with an important opportunity to engage in a meaningful discussion on this contentious issue. It is my opinion that by placing your End of Life Choice bill in the ballot on Thursday 15 October, you have pre-empted the work of the Committee. I would be grateful if you would advise me why you have taken this pre- emptive action.
An important provision of your bill is s 4 [c] [ii] a grievous and irremediable medical condition; and [d] is in an advanced state of irreversible decline in capability.
In Holland and Belgium euthanasia has now been extended to include patients who are depressed or are suffering from dementia. Do you accept that patients suffering from depression and dementia will be able to access through s 4 of your bill, assisted suicide or a lethal injection?
Recently the Marris Assisted Suicide bill, in the UK, was resoundingly defeated at Westminster, 333 to 118. It was defeated as were the seven previous attempts to have a euthanasia bill passed at Westminster on the grounds that it was unsafe and that it would not be possible to protect other vulnerable persons who would be deprived of their lives without their knowledge or consent. There have been an estimated 172 unsuccessful attempts worldwide to pass euthanasia bills, all have failed on the grounds that there was no way to protect vulnerable patients from being deprived of their lives without their knowledge or consent. Why do you believe that your bill will not present a threat to the vulnerable in our community?
Thank you for responding to this enquiry.
Re 14 October. It is disappointing that David Seymour MP, has drafted a bill that will allow doctors to give a lethal drug to their patients, This bill is a threat to the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community, the aged ,the disabled and the seriously ill. This bill is also an attack on the ethics of the medical profession, which is dedicated to respect the right to life of every patient, from conception to natural death. How could we ever trust our doctor, if we knew that killing us was a treatment option. Would you ever go into a hospital if you were not sure whether you were going to be killed or cured? Doctors want to be carers not killers. It is arrogant for David Seymour to believe that he has the right to destroy the ethics of the medical profession to suit his political agenda.
Right to Life NZ
Time Magazine International
13th October 2015
Re 12 October. Cecile Richards, the President of Planned Parenthood claims that, “the outrageous accusations leveled against Planned Parenthood.. are offensive and categorically untrue.” The evidence supporting the serious accusations of criminal activity perpetrated by Planned Parenthood are substantiated by the unedited tapes of interviews by members of the Centre for Medical Progress with executive members of Planned Parenthood. The tapes have been reviewed by Coalfire, a forensics firm that does analysis for criminal investigations. The company’s 14 page report has declared that the tapes reveal no manipulation or editing. Planned Parenthood employed Fusion GPS to review the tapes. Fusion also reported that there was no evidence of manipulation or editing. Planned Parenthood is the major abortion provider in the United States, its profitability depends on marketing abortions and selling foetal parts for research. Affiliates of Planned Parenthood are given a quota for abortions that they are expected to strive for. Time would be providing a service to the community by providing an article exposing the scandalous activities of Planned Parenthood.
Right to Life NZ
23 May 2015
Abortion Supervisory Committee,
Dear Ms Cole
RU 486 Abortion Reversal Protocol
Thank you for your letter of 29 January 2015 You advised that the drug Progesterone was not funded by Pharmac and was not available in New Zealand. Research conducted by my Society reveals that the drug is marketed in New Zealand as Utrogestan and is available on prescription. Now that it is established that this drug is available I wish to resubmit my request made in my email of 7 December.
I wish to bring to the attention of your Committee, that a protocol has been developed in the United States, to reverse chemical abortions that were using RU 486. The conventional wisdom of the abortion industry is that there is no way to stop the RU-486 procedure once it is started. This, however, turns out to be false. Chemical abortions can be reversed with high doses of Progesterone and the procedure has been effective in more than 23 states to date, including California,” said Vicki Evans, Archdiocese of San Francisco respect life coordinator. The San Diego-based Abortion Pill Reversal Program has also helped women in six foreign countries.
“There have been more than 50 deliveries of healthy babies with no birth defects after the reversal protocol and more than 100 other women are pregnant with apparently normal pregnancies after successful reversals,” said Dr. George Delgado, medical director of the Abortion Pill Reversal Program. Delgado is co-author with Bay Area obstetrician Dr. Mary Davenport of a medical journal article on RU-486 reversals, “Progesterone Use to Reverse the Effects of Mifepristone,” published in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy, December 2012.
RU-486 was hailed and is still touted as the answer to those seeking a discreet, safe abortion in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. RU-486, also known as mifepristone, is always administered in a clinic or Hospital. It blocks progesterone and the lining of the uterus breaks down making it inhospitable to the developing embryo. The second drug, misoprostol, causes uterine contractions to expel the fetus and is taken about two days later at home. Misoprostol has been shown to cause birth defects in a small number of women, Davenport said.
Women who choose medical abortion and regret it within the first two days before they take the second drug have a chance to save their baby, Dr Davenport said. The RU-486 reversal procedure has been successful in 59 percent of cases from May 2012 to June 2014, according to statistics collected by the Abortion Pill Reversal Program, headed by Delgado and nurse manager Debbie Bradel.
Right to Life is delighted that there is now help for women who have taken Mifepristone to kill their child in the womb and have now changed their mind and chosen life for their child. Women seeking an abortion are legally entitled to be fully informed. It is our contention that women seeking an abortion should be informed that if they are having a chemical abortion with Mifepristone that they are informed that if the woman changes her mind she may seek a reversal of the abortion.
Right to Life requests that the Committee give consideration to;
- Advising all certifying consultants and counsellors that they have a duty to ensure that all women undergoing a chemical abortion are informed of their right to seek a reversal of their abortion prior to taking Misoprostol.
- To clarify and support this information for women we request that this very important information be provided to these women through the medium of a pamphlet.
- Including statistics for abortion reversals in the Committee’s annual report to Parliament.
Providing this information would be a great service to the women of New Zealand, I would be grateful if you would advise me what action your Committee will take on this important issue.
20 May 2015
Dr Jan Pearson,
National Health Promotions Officer,
New Zealand Cancer Society,
PO Box 12700,
Dear Dr Pearson
Abortion Breast Cancer Link
I wish to draw your attention to a recent important study, Biochemical researchers at Georgia Regents University this month revealed research that linked abortion to higher increases in breast cancer among women.
According to the study, pregnant women produce high levels of the gene DNMT1 — responsible for maintaining breast, or mammary stem cells that enable breast’s rapid growth during pregnancy — which also produces stem cells that may cause breast cancer. The average woman will produce 300 times more of these mammary stem cells during pregnancy, becoming breast cells as they increase in size. This also happens during puberty.
When a pregnant woman producing heavy amounts of these stem cells either and gets an abortion or suffers a miscarriage, the immature cells slated to become future breast cells have increased chances of becoming cancerous. Though the scientists could not understand why, the study also showed that women who get their first pregnancy after age 30, also have an increased risk of breast cancer.
It is a human tragedy that each year 650 women die in New Zealand from breast cancer. Every year 2800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Ninety five per cent of women contracting breast cancer are over the age of forty. According to the Coalition on Abortion Breast Cancer, one woman in one hundred who has an abortion will die from breast cancer as a result of that abortion. It has been known since 1957 in a Japanese study that women who had an abortion increased the risk of breast cancer . There are many studies that have been conducted worldwide that provide irrefutable proof of the link between abortion and breast cancer. Abortions are promoted as being “safe “for women, they are not. It is politically incorrect to admit that abortion hurts women. The fact that ideology trumps science, means that women are not being warned of the abortion breast cancer link.
Dr Joel Brind PhD, internationally renowned researcher in 1996, completed a mega – analysis of twenty three international studies and found that eighteen studies disclosed a link between abortion and breast cancer. Recent studies have been completed in Sri Lanka, China, India, Bangladesh, Iran and Turkey which revealed a substantial increase in breast cancer following an abortion. There has been a 40 per cent increase in breast cancer in China since the introduction of its one child family policy with forced abortions since 1979. Women under the age of eighteen who have an abortion double the risk of breast cancer. Multiple abortions also result in an increasing risk of breast cancer. Since 1957, 72 studies done with 80per cent showing a link between abortion and breast cancer.
I wish to bring to your attention the findings of a meta-analysis of abortion and breast cancer [ABC] in China, which was published in the prestigious, peer–reviewed international cancer journal, Cancer Causes and Control. This meta-analysis included 36 studies on the ABC link in China that had been published during 2012. Dr Yubei Huang et al, reported that the overall risk of developing breast cancer among women who had at least one induced abortion was significantly increased by 44 per cent.
These results, said the authors, were consistent with a previously published systematic review that was published in the British Medical Association’s epidemiology journal with colleagues from Penn State Medical Centre in 1996 which showed an overall significant 30 per cent increased risk of breast cancer in worldwide studies.
The new Chinese meta-analysis is of great significance, Not only does it validate the earlier findings from 1996 but its findings are even stronger, for several reasons:
- The link is a slightly stronger one, i.e., 44% v. 30% risk increase with abortion;
- It shows what is called a “dose effect”, i.e., two abortions increase the risk more than one abortion (76% risk increase with two or more abortions), and three abortions increase the risk even more (89% risk increase with three or more abortions). Risk factors that show such a dose effect have more credibility in terms of actually causing the disease.
- Huang et al. states: “The lack of a social stigma associated with induced abortion in China due to China’s one child family policy may limit the amount of underreporting”. Putative under reporting of abortions by healthy women has been routinely invoked to discredit the ABC link–the lack of credible evidence notwithstanding. This line of attack—variously called the “response bias” or “recall bias” or “reporting bias” argument, has now been neutralized.
The evidence of studies done worldwide reveal that if a woman has an abortion before having a full term pregnancy she substantially increases her risk of developing breast cancer.
Right to Life has a duty to women to ensure that they are fully informed in accordance with the Health and Disability Act. In your letter of 7 March 2014 you advised that, “There was no evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer.”
It is noted that on your web site that there is no mention of an abortion leaving women with more cancer vulnerable cells than they had before they became pregnant. In view of the fact that this is agreed among the scientific community is there any reason why this information cannot be shown?
With respect, Right to Life believes that the evidence is overwhelming. This evidence is dismissed on the assumption that it is subject to recall bias. This is an assumption that has not been substantiated by research. The above evidence raises important questions:
- Does your Society accept that an abortion leaves women with more cancer vulnerable tissue than they had before they became pregnant?
- Does your Society believe that women considering an abortion should be told that having an abortion deprives the women of the protection against breast cancer afforded by a full term pregnancy?
- Does your Society believe that this information should be given to women considering an abortion as part of the informed consent process?
27 October 2008
Hon Annette King,
Minister of Justice,
Dear Mrs King
Re Abortion Advisory Committee
Our Society is disappointed that your Ministry has declined to provide our Society with the names and qualifications of persons recently appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee to the newly established Standards Committee.
The information was sought under the Official Information Act 1982 in a letter dated 4 August 2008 to the Abortion Supervisory Committee. In a letter dated 4 September 2008, from Jonathon Day, Specialist Advisory Officer of the Tribunals Division of the Ministry of Justice our request for this information was declined pursuant to section 9 [g] of the Official Information Act. We were advised that the information was withheld in order to protect the members of the Standards Committee from improper pressure or harassment.
We fully support your Ministry’s desire to protect members of the Standards Committee from undue pressure and harassment in the exercise of their duties. Our Society has no desire to exercise improper pressure or harassment on members of the Standards Committee and have no desire to write to the committee unless invited to. We have not sought nor do we wish to receive the addresses of the committee members.
We believe that in a free Parliamentary democracy it is important that government is open and transparent. The Standards Committee is a public body appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee in accordance with the authority vested in the Committee by the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act, section 15. The members of the Committee are paid for their duties from the public purse. We believe that the public have a right to know who the members of this Committee are and what their qualifications are.
I know that you are a fervent advocate of open government and I believe that you will understand our profound disappointment at this unjustified restriction on the right of the public to know. It is mentioned that a complaint has been lodged with the Ombudsman.
27 October 2008
Right Hon Helen Clarke,
Dear Ms Clarke
Re Official information Act – Request
I wish to request under the Official Information Act 1982 a copy of the CV for Dr Carol Shand that supported her appointment in this years Queen’s birthday honours as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
It is understood that Dr Shand has been employed as an abortionist at the Parkview Abortion Clinic and currently at Level J at the Wellington Hospital since 1980. It is conservatively estimated that she has been directly responsible for the “legal” killing of thousands of defenceless and innocent unborn children. Abortion is violence against unborn children, it is also violence against women.
It is a scandal that Dr Shand should be honoured by your government for hurting women spiritually, physically and psychologically by killing their children and violating the human rights of unborn New Zealanders. We applaud Dr Shand for her excellent work in dealing with the victims of sexual abuse.
27 August 2008
The Chief Executive Officer,
(All NZ District Health Boards)
Re Official Information Act, 1982 – Request, Judicial Review of Abortion Supervisory Committee.
I wish to bring to your attention an important judgment delivered by Justice Miller in the High Court in Wellington on 9th June 2008. The judgment was delivered at the conclusion of a Judicial Review of the performance of the Abortion Supervisory Committee. It has important implications for those Hospital Boards that provide abortions for the termination of the lives of unborn children. Operating surgeons who perform abortions at your licensed facilities are employed by your Board. The Board thus has a serious responsibility to ensure that the lives of all unborn children terminated by abortion in your facilities are lawful.
Right to Life welcomes the judgment of Justice Miller. This is an historic judgment and the most important development in the abortion laws in New Zealand during the previous 30 years. The implementation of this judgment by the Abortion Supervisory Committee should result in a substantial reduction in the number of abortions performed in New Zealand and bring the law back into line with the intentions of the Royal Commission and Parliament. The judgment should herald in a new era of care and protection of women and their unborn children.
The judgment acknowledges that it was the intention of Parliament in 1977 in passing the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act [CS & A Act] to provide effective legal protection for the human rights of unborn children. This intention to provide effective legal protection is enshrined in the long title of the Act which states …”that abortions may be authorised only after full regard is given to the rights of unborn children.” The judge held that the Act creates a “moral claim” by the unborn child “on the conscience of the community and not merely that of the mother through the substantive criteria and procedures prescribed by the Act.”
The judge has acknowledged that we now have in New Zealand an abortion rate comparable to those of Canada and the United States where women have a constitutional right to an abortion. Justice Miller states that “there is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants. Indeed the Committee itself has stated that the law is being used more liberally than Parliament intended.”
Justice Miller stated that; “In my opinion, the statistics and the Committee’s comments over the years since the Court of Appeal made that observation do give rise to powerful misgivings about the lawfulness of many abortions. They tend to confirm Dr Forster’s view that New Zealand essentially has abortion on request.”
The judge has said that “the Abortion Supervisory Committee has misinterpreted its functions and powers under the abortion law reasoning incorrectly that Wall v Livingston precludes the Committee from reviewing or scrutinising decisions of certifying consultants. The Committee does in fact have the power to require certifying consultants to keep records and report on cases they have considered.”
Justice Miller also stated; “The abortion law certainly asserts a state interest in protecting the unborn child and not merely an interest that women have safe and legal abortions.” “The law precludes abortion on request and abortion as a matter between the woman and her own doctor.”
On 1st August the Committee advised that an appeal against several of the major findings of the judgment were being appealed to the Court of Appeal. A hearing is expected to be held early in 2009. In the meantime in the light of the Court’s serious doubt concerning the lawfulness of many abortions it is contended that your Board has a serious legal responsibility to stop unlawful abortion on demand and ensure that abortions performed in your facilities are lawful. It would be appreciated if you would kindly advise under the Official Information Act 1982 what action your Board will take to stop abortion on demand, ensure that all abortions are lawful, that the right to life of unborn children receive the full protection of the law and that the health and welfare of vulnerable and distressed women is protected.
Taranaki Daily Times.
Warning to halt abortions
Hugh Cunningham and his delegation are commended for challenging the Taranaki District Health Board [DHB] on the lawfulness of abortions performed at the Base Hospital. The operating surgeon who performs abortions is employed by the Board and should be accountable to the Board for her medical decisions to terminate the life of an unborn child. District Health Boards have a responsibility to ensure that the human rights of unborn children their weakest and most defenceless patients receive the full protection of the law. Boards also have a responsibility to protect the health and welfare of vulnerable women who are the second victims of abortion. The Board has a duty to implement the judgment of Justice Miller to see what action the Board should take to stop unlawful abortions, stop abortion on demand and to question certifying consultants on their use of mental health grounds for authorising 98% of abortions.
There is no legal requirement for the Board to hold a licence to perform abortions. Why does the Board like a number of other Boards not choose to promote a culture of life by protecting its vulnerable women and unborn by refusing to perform abortions and promoting adoption as a loving option.
Right to Life New Zealand Inc.
Evangelicals Support Obama
The election of the President of the United States, the leader of the western world is important for a just society and a culture of life. It should be a matter of great concern for evangelical Christians that Barack Obama the Democratic nominee is an evangelist for a culture of death. In the United States Senate he has a consistent voting record in support of abortion. He voted against a ban on partial birth abortions, and supports infanticide. He voted against the Born Alive Infants Protection Act which requires that a child born alive from an abortion be given medical care and attention. Obama has said that the first thing he will do as President is to pass the Freedom of Access to Clinics Act. This Act will remove all the pro life protective measures such as parental consent provisions from every State statute. Obama also supports same sex marriage. Please pray that the pro life Republican John McCain will be elected.
Right to Life New Zealand Inc.
Abortion Supervisory Committee,
Private Bag 32001,
16 July 2008
Dear Mr Day
Re Official Information Act – Request
It has come to the attention of our Society that Istar Ltd, of Wellington, importers of Myfigyne RU 486 have a web site providing information relating to abortion services in New Zealand. The web site states;” that some abortion clinics accept referrals from midwifes.”
We assume that this information is correct. We are aware that the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, section 32 Procedure where woman seeks an abortion, states that it is the woman’s own doctor who after considering the case considers it may be one which meets the legal requirements for an abortion refer the case to two certifying consultants. There is no provision in law for a midwife to make the necessary medical judgment that a woman meets the legal requirements or to make a referral to two certifying consultants. Such a referral if made by a midwife would be unlawful.
Our Society is aware that the Committee was only appointed in June 2007 and that it would be unreasonable to expect the Committee to know if the alleged unlawful practice was indeed happening. We believe that the legal requirement that referrals to certifying consultants be made only by the woman’s own doctor is intended to be for the protection of the woman and her unborn child. This is therefore a very important issue of patient safety.
In order to pursue this issue I wish to request under the Official Information Act the names of the abortion clinics and hospitals in New Zealand, if any that accept referrals for abortions from midwifes.
People have a right to know that IVF clinics in New Zealand are not required to report to the Advisory Committee on Assisted Reproductive Technology of the disposal of human embryos that have been frozen and stored and are now “surplus to requirements. The Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act [HART] requires that human embryos may be frozen and stored for a maximum of 10 years unless the Ethics Committee has granted permission for an extension. Right to Life recently wrote to the Minister of Health and requested under the Official Information Act information on the number of human embryos that had been destroyed after 10 years since the passing of the HART Act. The Minister replied that there is no public record of the number destroyed and does not believe that this information is held by another agency.
This as an appalling situation and a violation of human rights. Human life begins at conception and the human embryo is endowed by its Creator with human rights among which is an inalienable right to life. >From conception the human being should be accorded the respect that is given to the human person. The Catholic Church opposes IVF because it entails the creation by doctors of human embryos in a petri dish, a violation of God’s plan for pro creation. The Church also opposes the storage, freezing and disposal of human embryos as it is a violation of their human rights.
Human embryos are our brothers and sisters they are the weakest and most defenceless members of our human family. We have a duty to speak up in their defence as they cannot speak in defence of themselves. The IVF industry is promoted as being part of a culture of life; it is not, it is in fact part of a culture of death. Many of the doctors involved with IVF are also involved in the abortion industry. The IVF industry is mostly funded by the state, it is deeply disconcerting that the government has no interest in knowing or recording the destruction of these tiny children of God deemed to be of such little value that their destruction is not worthy of being recorded. May God have mercy on our nation that allows the killing of God’s precious infants.
Right to Life New Zealand Inc.
4 June 2008
The Chief Executive Officer,
Office of Film and Literature Classification,
PO Box 1999,
I wish to lay a complaint on behalf of Right to Life New Zealand Inc, under the Films, Videos and Publications Act 1993 [the Act] against two videos, the first is named “Doing it with Betty”, the second is titled, “The Single Shot”.
These two videos are being shown on the web site of Exit International which is hosted in New Zealand. It is understood that these two videos do not have a classification issued by your office. Information on the above web site states that these two instructional films on suicide are the first of 16 instructional videos to be exhibited on the Exit International web site.
It is the opinion of this Society that the videos are objectionable in terms of section 3 of the Act. The video, “Doing it with Betty” provides instruction on how to commit suicide with the aid of a plastic bag. The second video, “the Single Shot” gives a demonstration of how to produce the drug Nembutal to be used to commit suicide.
Government Suicide Prevention Action Plan
The government in March this year launched its five year Suicide Prevention Action Plan with the objective of saving lives and reducing New Zealand’s disturbingly high suicide rate.
There are approximately 500 suicides (self murders) reported each year in New Zealand. It is believed that there are many suicides that are not reported. Maori men and those living in deprived communities are most at risk. In 2006, 5400 people were treated at hospitals after intentionally harming themselves. If these people had the opportunity of viewing the videos it may be assumed that many of them would have successfully committed suicide. It is incongruous for the government to have introduced a plan to reduce suicide in our community while at the same time these videos advocating suicide are available on the internet in New Zealand. Our Society believes that the OFLC should support the government’s Action Plan by banning the videos.
Human Rights Issue
This is an important human rights issue. Right to Life New Zealand is a national incorporated Society with an estimated 4,500 members. We are a Society that believes that it is self evident that all human beings are endowed at conception by their Creator with inalienable human rights. The foundation of our human rights is our right to life. We are opposed to any attack on our right to life. We are therefore opposed to suicide, self murder which is an attack on our dignity as human persons and on our right to life. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states in the preamble;
“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”
It is important to note that the United Nations Declaration recognises that our human rights including our right to life are inalienable, being inalienable they may not be taken away from us, nor may we give them up. There is no human right for a person to kill themselves. Our lives are not our own but belong to our Creator. We are therefore but stewards of our life and have no right to destroy it.
It is mentioned that the web site for Exit International states;
“Dr Philip Nitschke is a tireless fighter for human rights. He uses his intelligence combined with his resourcefulness to continue to fight for the right to choose”
It is imperative that we recognise that Nr Nitschke is not promoting human rights but a culture of death under the guise of human rights. This is a serious threat to the lives of every citizen and to future generations. It would be the greatest folly for the OFLCO to provide encouragement to Dr Nitschke by permitting him to continue displaying these videos.
Duty to Protect Life
It is the first duty of the State to protect the lives of its citizens from conception to natural death, especially the weak and vulnerable in society. The state recognises that suicide is a violation of human rights and is harmful not only to the individual whose life is destroyed but also to the common good. Parliament has expressed its opposition to suicide by enacting legislation in the Crimes Act section 179 to make it a serious crime to counsel, aid or abet in a suicide. Suicide is a terrible tragedy for the individual, the family and society. In a civilised society it is recognised that we all have a duty to promote a culture of life and oppose a culture of death. Suicide is an attack on a culture of life and promotes a culture of death. The suicide of a member of society wounds the social fabric and undermines the collective commitment to life that a healthy and viable society should have. It is contended that the OFLC, a Crown entity, as an agency of the legislature has a serious duty to promote a culture of life and oppose a culture of death.
NZ Bill of Rights – Freedom of Expression
Right to Life supports the Bill of Rights 1990. The Act states that everyone has “the right to freedom of expression, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and opinions of any kind in any form.” It also states under section 5 of the Act, this freedom is subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society. Free speech is an important human right. As with all rights there are responsibilities. We may not use free speech in a manner that will harm another person.
. For this reason the freedom of speech is seen as being grossly and blatantly misused in these videos.
Our society shares the concern of the NZ Police. The Senior Police Legal Advisor, Inspector Alistair Murray, stated in a submission on the original edition of “The Peaceful Pill” that the Police believe that the publication of the book in certain circumstances would be a potential breach of the criminal law, in particular, section 179 of the Crimes Act 1961, which makes a person liable to 14 years imprisonment if that person “incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit suicide.”
In the light of the Police Department’s submission, we believe that their concerns would also apply to the two videos in question.
Our Society also supports the submission of the Ministry of Health made in respect to the original edition of “The Peaceful Pill” which stated, “That it should be classified as objectionable under section 3 of the FVPC Act because if the book was made accessible to the community, it would be of interest to and read by people at risk of suicide as well as those contemplating euthanasia.” The Department noted that the term suicide was used throughout the book confusing those two subjects.
In the light of the serious concerns of the Ministry of Health and the Police, the videos should be banned.
Age Concern Canterbury
It is important to draw your attention to the statements made by Mr Andrew Dickerson, Canterbury’s Aged Concern chief executive and member of the Canterbury District Health Board. They appeared in an article in the Christchurch Press, 12 May 2008, featuring the classification of the book “The Peaceful Pill”. Mr Dickenson said that he was horrified that the book would soon be available. Despite being rated for sale to those aged over 18, he predicted depressed vulnerable young people would get their hands on it with fatal results. “My aspirations for older people are also considerably higher than a book which promotes ways to kill themselves,” These comments could well be applied to the videos in question.
Youth – Suicide
New Zealand has the highest male rate of youth suicide [15 – 24] and second highest female youth suicide rate compared to other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] countries. Youth [15 – 24] have a much higher rate of hospitalisation for intentional self-harm in 2002  cases per 100,000] than the total population [85.5 cases]. The New Zealand Health Strategy has identified reducing suicide and suicide attempts across all ages as a priority health objective.
Research has revealed that youth suicide is associated with depression. Our Society is deeply concerned that young vulnerable persons who are suffering from deep depression will be at increased risk of committing suicide if they have the opportunity of viewing these videos.
Meaning of Objectionable
Section 3  For the purposes of this Act, a publication is objectionable if it… deals with matters such as violence. It is contended that the videos encourage the ultimate violence against oneself that of self destruction or self murder.
It also inflicts intense emotional violence against the deceased’s family and friends. It is the view of this Society that the videos are likely to be injurious to the public good and should, be classified as objectionable and banned
Section 2 [f] It is contended that the videos violate this section by promoting extreme violence against oneself.
Section 3 [a] [i] It is contended that the videos violate this section by dealing with serious harm.
Section 3  [d] The video “The Single Shot” clearly is encouraging unlawful criminal acts. Nembutal is a Class C prohibited drug. It is unlawful to possess it or to manufacture it unless you are a veterinary surgeon.
Under section 3, the classification Office must consider the following matters:
Section 3 [a] The dominant effect of the publication of the publication as a whole.
The dominant effect of the videos is to instruct in the manner of committing suicide.
Euthanasia and suicide are being promoted by Dr Philip Nitschke as the right of those who are terminally ill. It is contended that his real agenda is to promote euthanasia and suicide as being a human right for persons of any age who are not terminally ill but have decided that life is not worth living.
I wish to refer you to an article entitled “Outrage as Healthy Woman Helped to Die” which appeared in the Sunday Star Times on Sunday 3 February 2008. A New Zealand woman who was not terminally ill killed herself with lethal Nembutal that she had smuggled home from Mexico after seeking advice from Dr Philip Nitschke. A friend of the woman had said that the 68 year old woman who had committed suicide was active but suffered severe depression. Dr Nitschke was interviewed for the article and was unrepentant over his role in the woman’s death, saying it was “arrogant and paternalistic” to review someone else’s decision about when to die. You are not in her shoes. She obviously made an assessment and decided her life was not worth living any more. You can not simply look at the medical records”.
It is contended that the real agenda of the euthanasia movement is to promote euthanasia as a right to choose for any person of any age who believes that there life is not worth living. The website of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society New Zealand states on its home page;
“The Voluntary Euthanasia Society of New Zealand has as its object a change to the law to allow terminally ill patients or those whose quality of life has diminished to an unacceptable extent, the right to a peaceful death with dignity at a time of their choosing.” [Emphasis added]
Section 3 [c] The character of the publication, including any merit, value or importance it has in relation to literary, artistic, social, cultural, educational, scientific or other matters.
We contend that the videos are totally without merit, value or importance.
We believe that it is morally reprehensible to be offering the terminally ill and the elderly the option of suicide as an acceptable end of life choice. A caring and compassionate society will provide appropriate palliative care which successfully provides effective pain relief. New Zealand is very fortunate in having excellent palliative care facilities. Members of the medical profession involved in providing this service are totally opposed to suicide as a choice. The NZ Medical Council has vehemently opposed the release of Dr Nischke’s book “The Peaceful Pill” for sale and has strongly criticised the Exit International seminars he has held in NZ – teaching people how to unlawfully bring banned drugs into NZ and commit suicide.
Section 3  [e] The purpose for which the publication is intended to be used.
It is contended that the videos promote an unlawful activity. One of the videos promotes the use of the drug Nembutal as the preferred means for committing suicide. Nembutal is a Class C prohibited drug, it is an offence against the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, the import and possession of which is an offence under section 6 of the Act. As the video clearly promotes the possession and use of this lethal drug, it is in fact encouraging a criminal act. Dr Nitschke has acknowledged that he has taken an estimated 200 ‘terminally ill “persons from Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand to Mexico to purchase the drug Nembutal. It is expected that this video will encourage more persons to contact Dr Nitschke for advice on purchasing the drug in Mexico. These actions are unlawful and may only be discouraged by the banning of the video in New Zealand
.Suicide, self murder, is not a crime in New Zealand. However, the Crimes Act, section 179 makes it abundantly clear that aiding and abetting suicide is a crime against the person. There have been two Death with Dignity Bills brought to Parliament in recent years. The first was the Private Members Bill of Michael Laws of 1995 that was defeated by 61 to 29 at its first reading. The second Private Members Bill was brought to Parliament in 2003 and was defeated at its first reading 60 to 57. It is clear from these two vigorous Parliamentary debates that there is majority opposition to having Parliament even consider legislation to legalise assisted suicide and the killing of patients by their doctors.
Suicide is a tragedy for the person who kills themselves, a great tragedy for the family of the deceased and a tragedy for the community. Our society, our human family has a social contract that we respect our own life and the lives of others in the community. Suicide is a violation of that important social contract.
It is contended that the videos also promote and supports violence. Self murder is the ultimate in violence against oneself. It also inflicts intense emotional violence against the deceased’s family and friends. It is the view of this Society that the videos are likely to be injurious to the public good and should, be classified as objectionable and banned
3 June 2008
PO Box 5013,
Re Human Embryo – Disposal
Our Society has been advised that a copy of our letter to the Minister of dated; 20 March 2008 on the issue of the disposal of human embryos was referred to your Committee for it to consider as part of the Committee’s wider monitoring responsibilities under the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act 2004, [HART Act].
Our Society believes that the human embryo should be accorded the respect that is accorded to the human person. Human embryonic persons are endowed with human rights and should not be treated as surplus to requirements and disposed of. Right to life is opposed to the creation of human in a Petri dish by doctors, their storage and disposal.
Every human being has a right to be conceived in the sanctuary of its mother’s womb and has a right to be born. IVF contravenes the Creator’s plan for pro- creation.
It is understood that the Committee has the authority to grant to IVF clinics permission to retain human embryos after 10 years. I would be grateful if you would advise our Society if such permission has been granted and the number of human embryos involved.
In conclusion I would be grateful if you would advise us what action the Committee will take in respect to our request for information on the number of human embryos destroyed through disposal?
23 May 2008
Ms Sue Moroney MP,
Dear Ms Moroney
Re Professor David Fergusson – Study
Thank you for your letter of 13 May 2008. The Christchurch Health and Development Study “Abortion in Young Women and subsequent Mental Health” headed by Professor David Fergusson did not consider women who had an “unwanted pregnancy” as a separate group for the purposes of this study. There were three groups, those never pregnant, those who were pregnant and had a life birth and those who were pregnant and who had an abortion.
The study was published in the Journal of Child Psychology &Psychiatry, 2006; 47:16-24. The study indicates that abortion harms the psychological health of teenagers. The study the largest of its type and most detailed long-term study ever undertaken has attracted international attention. The research was conducted by the Canterbury Health and Development Study, at the Christchurch School of Medicine. The research was led by Professor David Fergusson, Ph.D. who is a psychologist and epidemiologist; He said that his research team had followed the progress of 1265 children born in Christchurch in the mid 1970s, from infancy to adulthood. Nearly 500 women in the study became pregnant by the age of 25 and 90 women had an abortion.
His research found 41 per cent of the women studied had become pregnant by age 25, and that 14.6 percent had had an abortion. By the age of 25, the study found that 42 per cent who had undergone an abortion had also suffered major depression during the previous four years. In total, 90 pregnancies ended with the deliberate termination of the life of the child, this was nearly double the rate of those who had never been pregnant and 35 per cent higher than those who had allowed their baby to be born. Those who had endured an abortion were also twice as likely to drink alcohol to dangerous levels compared with those who had a live birth, and three times as likely to be dependent on illicit drugs. Those who had an abortion also suffered elevated rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal behaviours.
Professor Fergusson describes himself as “pro choice”. He commenced this study with the conviction that abortion did not cause mental ill health; he was surprised with the results which he claims can not be challenged as they were statistically strong. He has been extensively interviewed by the international media. He has said that there was little evidence to suggest that abortion improved the mental health of women. “This study suggests possibly the opposite. Abortion is by far the most common surgical procedure that young women receive. In our study cohort one out of seven women had had an abortion by the age of 25.” A much more difficulty issue in New Zealand is that abortion grounds are medical grounds, and the majority of women who seek abortions do so on mental health grounds. This research shows it might not do too much to encourage mental health.” He stated that he had experienced difficulty in having the research published as three American medical journals had refused to publish the results. The research was ultimately published in the British Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry.
Professor Fergusson said on Australian radio that the results could undermine the legal basis to abortions, including NSW, where an abortion is legal only if continuing the pregnancy would threaten the woman’s physical or mental health.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee in a media statement stated that the connection between abortion and mental ill health was “a grey area and that the results of the study were inconclusive”
This society supports the Professor’s statement that this research could undermine the legal basis for access to abortion when an abortion is legal when the pregnancy would threaten the woman’s physical or mental health. This society requested in writing that the Minister of Health at that time, Hon Pete Hodgson, urgently instigate a national study into the relationship of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse. The Minister replied that there were no plans to conduct such a study. This society also requested in writing that the Abortion Supervisory Committee which is responsible for abortion counselling, take immediate steps to ensure that the results of this study be given to all women considering an abortion. The Committee replied that they did not believe that there was a connection between abortion and mental ill health. They also refused to have the results of this study given to women who were considering an abortion. Professor Fergusson has stated that it is his intention to conduct further study on these important health issues in the following year.
Our Society believes that women considering an abortion are entitled to be given information from this study that having an abortion could result in mental ill health. Our Society would be grateful to you if you were able to promote the right of woman seeking an abortion to be fully informed. I have enclosed a copy of this important study for your information.
23 May 2008
Abortion Supervisory Committee,
Private Bag 32001,
Dear Ms Foote
Re Professor David Fergusson – Study
You would be aware of the 2004 study “Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health” conducted by The Christchurch Health and Development Study headed by Professor David Fergusson.
Researchers found that at age 25, 42 per cent of women in the study group who had experienced an abortion also experienced major depression at some time during the previous four years. This was nearly double the rate of those women who had never been pregnant and 35 per cent higher than those who had chosen to continue a pregnancy. Those having an abortion had elevated rates of subsequent mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, social behaviours and substance use disorders.
Professor David Fergusson, the leader of the research team who declares that he is “pro choice” and that he commenced this study with the firm conviction that an abortion did not cause mental ill and was surprised with the results which he claims can not be challenged as they are statistically strong. “ Our study is strongly suggestive of a link between abortion and developing mental illness.” He stated that the results could not be argued away by assuming the women involved had mental health problems or “a pre-disposition.” Right to Life concurs with the Professor in asserting that every woman considering an abortion should be advised of the results of this important study to ensure that they are properly informed of the potential consequences of an abortion.
Our Society wrote to your Committee on 10 December 2005 to present the following questions. The Committee responded on 15 February 2006. In view of the appointment of new members to the Committee on 14 June 2007, our Society would be grateful if you would respond to these important questions:
- Do you agree with Professor Fergusson that this study strongly suggests a link between abortion and developing mental illness?
- Do you agree with the statement of Professor Fergusson that the results of this study should be given to every woman considering an abortion?
- If so what action will the Committee be taking to ensure that all women considering an abortion will be provided by abortion counsellors with the results of this study?
- Will the Committee be taking action to encourage further extensive research into the link between abortion and mental health problems?
Thank you for your assistance with this enquiry.
28 April 2008
Hon Winston Peters,
Minister of Foreign affairs,
Dear Mr Peters
Re United Nations Human Rights Committee
I wish to express our Society’s concern at the actions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last week. The government of Poland was pressed on the issue of abortion and sexual orientation by the above Committee during the Universal Periodic Review [UPR], a process mandated by the UN General Assembly.
At the meeting on April 14th, the Polish delegation was questioned by various members of the committee about Poland’s human rights record. Norway said that Poland should “facilitate access to abortion for women who qualify for this under Polish law.”
Slovenia, the United Kingdom and Sweden pushed for sexual orientation to be one of the grounds for non-discrimination in the new equality law being debated in the Polish parliament. Slovenia recommended that Poland stop legislation “punishing anyone who promotes homosexuality…in education…”. Canada said that “those who campaign for equality and against discrimination based on perceived sexual orientation, (should be) allowed to carry out their work in a secure environment…”
The Polish government responded that Poland does not hamper women’s access to legal abortion, pointing out that clinics which refuse to perform abortions must subcontract with services that do. The head of the Polish delegation underlined that while the Polish Penal Code does not include discrimination based on sexual discrimination as a separate offense, Poland cooperates with European Union (EU) authorities on matters concerning sexual orientation.
The current Polish government receives EU grants specifically designed for cooperation with homosexual groups. Poland has commissioned research on the situation of homosexuals, and instituted a working group on discrimination based on sexual orientation with a right to transmit policy recommendations to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy.
Pawel Wosicki, a president of the Polish Confederation of Pro-Life Movements, and one of the NGO delegates to the review, said that “while the pro-abortion lobby has not succeeded in using the UPR process to promote abortion in Poland, the evident pressure on Poland in matters of sexual orientation is a serious development.
The Universal Periodic Review was established by the United Nations’ General Assembly in March 2005. The resolution calls on the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) to “undertake a universal periodic review…of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments…” The HRC started the review process in April 2008 and plans to finish reviewing 192 UN member states by 2011. Each country prepares a report based on general guidelines established by the HRC, which is then reviewed by three national delegations appointed by the HRC. Other delegations are allowed to ask questions and suggest recommendations.
Right to Life supports the right of the Polish Parliament to provide legislation to protect the lives of unborn children who are the weakest and most defenceless members of the human family. It is outrageous that the delegates of other nations should use UPR to seek to coerce the Polish government to weaken its protection of the human rights of unborn children under the guise of promoting human rights. Our Society would be grateful if you would advise if our country’s delegation supports the right of the Polish government and indeed other governments to exercise their duty to protect the lives of its citizens from conception to natural death?