Media Release 23 December 2022
Right to Life is concerned that the government is intending to impose safe areas around abortion facilities in a veil of secrecy by excluding the community from consultation and suppressing information.
The Prime Minister stated before the general election in 2017 that New Zealand was going to have the most accountable and most transparent government we had ever had.
Right to Life believes that the actions of the Ministry of Health, do not support that commitment.
In October 2022 Right to Life wrote to the Ministry of Health and asked under the Official Information Act for the following information:-
- The names of the abortion providers who have made application for a “safe area” around their abortion facilities?
- The names of the abortion facilities subject to an application for a “safe area ”designation?
- A copy of the grounds and alleged violations of harassment and intimidation supporting the above applications for a “safe area”
The Ministry replied on 3rd November. “Any decisions on future Safe Areas are part of an active legislative process. Once any Safe Area is granted this information will be publicly available.”
Right to Life challenges this response and has made a complaint to the Ombudsman. We believe that the community have a right to be consulted before the Minister makes a decision to restrict our human rights of free speech, assembly and communication.
It is an appalling injustice that the community are prevented from knowing the names of the six abortion providers that have made application for the curtailment of our human rights and the details of the alleged harassment and intimidation of women seeking an abortion and abortion staff. The only people permitted to be heard are the abortion providers and those who have made unsubstantiated complaints alleging harassment or intimidation. The community is on trial, however it is prohibited from providing evidence to protect its human rights.
Right to Life wrote to the Ministry in November requesting under the Official Information Act a copy of the application form to be used by abortion providers in requesting a safe area designation for their abortion facility. The Ministry on 5th December provided a copy for my exclusive personal use only. The Ministry have invoked the Copyright Act and have advised me that I may not show this form to any other person or publish it on our website. If I did so it could result in my being prosecuted and being charged in a Court with breaching the Copyright Act. On conviction I could be fined or imprisoned.
Why is the Ministry of Health invoking the Copyright Act to provide secrecy around the imposition of contentious Safe Areas for the killing centres of unborn children?
We do not accept that there is justification for restricting our rights of free speech and communication by invoking the Copyright Act, and have therefore shown the application form for a Safe Area to the executive and to other members of the pro-life movement in New Zealand.
Right to Life New Zealand Inc.