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Big News: The Right to Abortion Challenged

Big News with Dave Crampton

The Right to Abortion Challenged

One in four pregnancies are terminated in New Zealand, according to National Radio yesterday.

I think the lawsuit taken by the anti-abortion group Right To Life against the Abortion Supervisory Committee and the Attorney General will be very interesting. Right To Life says the Abortion Supervisory Committee has misinterpreted the law and allowed too many abortions.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee is appointed by Parliament and is accountable to Parliament for the performance of its statutory duties set out in the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act, 1977. Each year the Committee presents its report to Parliament on the Committee's activities.

Right To Life says that the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 was passed with the aim of stopping abortion on demand and that 98 percent of abortions have been authorised on mental health grounds masquerading on other grounds. Since 1977 nearly 300,000 New Zealanders have been aborted. This represents one abortion for every three live births. There were 18,510 abortions reported for 2003, according to Right to Life.

The law is also covered in the Crimes Act 1961 - specifically Section 187A(1), paragraph (a) which states:

"That the continuance of the pregnancy would result in serious danger (not being danger normally attendant upon childbirth) to the life, or to the physical or mental health, of the woman or girl."

In other words the interpretation to the Act has led to abortion on demand, and that was not the intention of the Act. I think Right to Life have a case here and I can't for the life of me think why the group took so long to take the Abortion Supervisory Committee to court to ensure that the practice complies with legislative intent.

If successful, this case will open a can of worms, and you can expect a much larger article than the four paragraph brief in yesterday's Dominion Post. You can also expect the United Nations to get involved.

And on the subject of the UN...

The position of the UN on abortion is that it is a legal right- although the legal status of abortion is the sovereign right of each nation. But it is quite happy to tell Morocco to decriminalise abortion , quite happy to tell Poland to legalise abortion, and happy to fund lawyers to overturn the ban on abortion in Colombia and tell Senegal, Panama and Nepal to provide abortions. It will be quite happy to tell NZ what to do as well if we restrict the practice of abortion on demand.

The real question in this case is whether the judge will find in favour of the plaintiff. I hope he does. Expect the decision to be appealed.

In the meantime, Right to Life would do well to swat up on Human Rights and the UN.


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