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Abortion law decision welcomed – Copeland

Gordon Copeland Press Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, 10th June 2008

Abortion law decision welcomed – Copeland

Independent MP Gordon Copeland today welcomed the decision of the High Court, questioning the lawfulness of many abortions currently being authorised by consultants.

“This is the most important decision made the New Zealand courts concerning abortion in thirty years,” said Mr Copeland. “It confirms what all of us have known for some time; namely that we have a defacto and unlawful abortion-on-demand situation in this country and that the Abortion Supervisory Committee has turned a blind eye.”

“The decision of the High Court coincides with a growing consensus right across New Zealand society that it is time for Parliament to address New Zealand’s extremely high level of abortion.”

“Clearly it is the case that a handful of unethical certifying consultants sign, without any qualms of conscience, each and every abortion request which is placed before them. That must come to an end.”

“Much has changed since abortion became polarised between the pro-choice and pro-life sides of the debate at the time the present law was enacted, way back in 1978. Today even many in the pro-choice camp, such as Dr Margaret Sparrow, lament the very high number of abortions in New Zealand; indeed, at 312 abortions per 1,000 live births per annum, our rate now appears to be the highest in the developed world.”

“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.”

“The Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK have come to the same conclusion. They have unequivocally stated that women should not be allowed to have abortions until they have been properly counselled on the possible risk to their mental health.”

“They have also made it clear that ‘consent cannot be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information.’ This is exactly what my Abortion (Informed Consent) Bill provides and I hope that it may eventually be drawn from the Members’ Ballot so that Parliament can look again at this whole issue.”

Mr Copeland recently sought the leave of Parliament to introduce his Bill but a number of Labour MPs objected to that course of action.


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