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Dismay at Govt's attitude to child abortions

Judith Collins National Party Health Spokeswoman

13 September 2004

Dismay at Govt's attitude to child abortions

National's Health spokeswoman Judith Collins is calling on a Government Minister to explain his attitude to children having abortions.

"David Benson-Pope must explain to parents what he meant when he said of a 12-year-old girl that 'if she is sexually mature and she's pregnant ... she's also a woman', inferring that a 12-year-old is able to decide without support whether or not to have an abortion.

"Parents will certainly be asking whether a pregnant 12-year-old is mature enough to be making life-changing decisions, like having an abortion, without support.

"There must be strong protection for the girls' interests under the law, but I believe parents or caregivers should be notified so they can give them the support they need.

"I'm also advocating a straightforward legal mechanism that would allow girls who fear for their safety to get a waiver.

"Mr Benson-Pope's comments confirm my belief that this Government is out of touch. It's worrying that this has come so soon after their failed attempt to legalise sex between children as young as 12.

"As a society, we cannot turn a blind eye to this," Ms Collins said.

She is seeking to amend the Care of Children Bill making parental notification mandatory for abortions for girls under the age of sixteen. Her amendment allows exemptions for girls who object to parental notification.

Ends

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