Minister of Justice,
Dear Mrs Collins
Abortion Supervisory Committee – Unlawful Licences
It is the opinion of our Society’s legal council that the Abortion Supervisory Committee has issued an unlawful abortion licence to the New Zealand Family Planning Association [NZFPA]. On 22 February the Committee issued a limited licence for the performance of abortions at the Associations Tauranga clinic.
The licence was issued in accordance with the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, pursuant to section 21, .It is contended that the requirements of s 21 [b] were not satisfied by the NZFPA.
That section states; that there are, in the institution, adequate surgical and other facilities, and adequate and competent staff, for the safe performance of abortions.
The Tauranga clinic does not have adequate surgical and other facilities and adequate and competent staff for the safe performance of abortions. Right to Life wrote to the Committee on 2 September 2013 challenging the lawfulness of the licence. The Committee responded on 3 October 2013 advising that it had issued a licence only for medical abortion up to 12 weeks gestation, surgical abortions would not be performed. Medical abortions are performed with Mifepristone and Misoprostol, literature on the use of these powerful drugs dictate that emergency equipment including electrocardiogram, resuscitative cardiopulmonary equipment and a defibrillator should be available.
The wording of the subsection is clear and unambiguous as is the wording on the licence granted, a copy of which is enclosed. The Act does not provide for the issue of an abortion licence for only medical abortions. A licence issued allowing for the killing of unborn children in the Tauranga clinic is an important legal document that should be issued with care and in strict accord with the legislation. The Committee does not have authority to ignore the will of Parliament as expressed in this legislation.
On 18 October 2013, our legal counsel wrote to the Committee and asked on what authority they had to disregard the clear requirements of the legislation in issuing the abortion licence to the NZFPA.The Committee responded on 12 December advising that they had nothing further to add.
We believe that the law should be upheld and I have taken the liberty of writing to you as you are the Minister responsible for the legislation. We would be grateful if you would consider taking this important issue up with the Committee.