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Labour blocks informed consent abortion Bill

Gordon Copeland Press Release

Wednesday, 9th April 2008

Labour blocks informed consent abortion Bill

Independent MP Gordon Copeland today devoted his general debate speech (copy attached) in Parliament to his Abortion (Informed Consent) Amendment Bill and then sought the leave of the House for its introduction.

However a number of Labour MPs objected to that course of action and, under Parliament's rules, just a single MP can block the introduction of a Bill in these circumstances.

Notwithstanding those objections, which Mr Copeland says were not unexpected, he believes that there is a growing consensus right across New Zealand society, for Parliament to address New Zealand's extremely high level of abortion.

"As far as I can tell, New Zealand's abortion rate, which is averaging 312 abortions per 1000 live births per annum, is now the highest in the developed world," said Mr Copeland.

"Much has changed since the issue became polarised between the pro-choice and pro-life sides of the debate at the time that the Bill was enacted, way back in 1978. Even many in the pro-choice camp, such as Dr Margaret Sparrow, now lament the high number of abortions in New Zealand."

"My Informed Consent Bill, which is similar to bills which have been advanced in the USA at State level, has the potential to achieve that outcome."

"The other reality which has changed the politics of this debate, is the growing acceptance that abortion is harmful to women. Professor David Fergusson's Christchurch based study concluded that women who have abortions subsequently have significantly higher mental health problems."

"In a statement on March 14, the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK came to the same conclusion. They believe that women should not be allowed to have abortions until they have been properly counselled on the possible risk to their mental health saying 'consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information' which is exactly what my Bill provides."


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