Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Challenge to PM and GPs over Secret Abortions

17 September 2004

Challenge to PM and GPs over Secret Abortions

In an article entitled “Counselling cuts abortions by 25%” in LIGHT (August 2004) published by The Festival of Light Australia (see special note below), the critical importance of the availability of counselling services to all women who are contemplating an abortion, is highlighted. Such services are also critical to those who have had an abortion, emphasising the fact that an abortion can have a major impact on the spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental and physical well-being of a woman.

In the light of this article and the findings highlighted, the Society challenges the Prime Minister, Ms Helen Clark, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Family Planning Association, the Ministry of Health and the New Zealand Medical Association to provide evidence based on published scientific studies, supporting their publicised views that:

It is NOT in the best interests of the vast majority of under-16-year-old pregnant girls seeking an abortion to ALWAYS discuss their pregnancy and their options for dealing with it (including having an abortion), WITH THEIR GUARDIAN(S), in addition to receiving counselling from health professionals, PRIOR TO BEING REFERRED BY THEIR GP TO A CERTIFYING CONSULTANT.

The Society submits that it is almost always in the girl’s best interests to have the matter of an intended abortion disclosed by the GP to the girl’s parents, so that those responsible for the primary care-giving (the parents and NOT the doctor!), can give guidance and support to her. In the tiny minority of cases where health professionals and/or the police consider that disclosure is not in the best interests of the girl, the matter could be resolved in the Family Court as proposed in a recent supplementary order paper (SOP) to the Care of Children Bill.

The PM and all the groups referred to above, strongly oppose this SOP, that includes an amendment to Clause 37 of the Care of Children Bill. The SOP, put forward by National health spokesperson Ms Judith Collins, would make it mandatory for all GPs to disclose to the guardian(s) of all under-16-year-old girls intending to have an abortion, the planned abortion, BEFORE the matter is referred to a certifying consultant. The Society submits that professional counselling services should be made available to the girl prior to the matter being dealt with by a certified consultant and that GPs should make every effort to speak to the girl’s guardian(s) face-to-face, before the matter of an abortion ever proceeds.

The Festival of Light Australia article states:

The Adelaide Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) has announced that its new program of compulsory counselling and time for reflection for women seeking an abortion has slashed the number of terminations by 25 per cent.

An article in Adelaide’s Sunday Mail (25/7/04, p. 12) said: “The drop in terminations has prompted calls for more comprehensive counselling to ensure women are fully informed of the financial and social support available, their options and the emotional impact of the decision.

“The Australian Medical Association also wants more post-termination counselling, warning that most women face unexpected grief.

“Last year, 584 women made appointments at the WCH for terminations, where counselling is mandatory. The delay saw only 473 turn up for the talk, then only 417 went through with the termination after discussing their options.

“WCH senior social worker Jayne Rickard said women needed to be fully informed of their options. ‘It is their decision and they should not be coerced into it by feeling they have no options,’ she said.”

In contrast to the WCH, the Pregnancy Advisory Centre does most (over 300 per cent) of Adelaide’s abortions and does not insist on counselling beforehand. When the PAC stopped allowing a week’s delay before each abortion in the late 1990s, SA abortion rates rose significantly.

“The 25% drop in abortions at WCH is good news indeed,” said Adelaide GP Dr Tony Turnbull. “And the call for post-abortion counselling indicates that the Australian Medical Association has at last acknowledged the deep grief suffered by many women who terminate their babies.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

 
 

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>

ALSO:

Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>

ALSO:

Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election