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Abortion Certifying Consultants Fees

18 July 2006

Media Release – Abortion Certifying Consultants Fees

Right to Life is disappointed that the Government has recently increased the fees paid to certifying consultants for authorising abortions. The fee for authorising an abortion has been increased from $87.50 to $135. This is a scandalous waste of tax- payer’s money. The increase in fees will not reduce the number of abortions in New Zealand. The increase in fees was sought by the Abortion Supervisory Committee because it was concerned with the recruitment and retention of doctors prepared to authorise and perform abortions. The abortion industry in New Zealand is money driven and the increase in fees could lead to an increase in our shameful abortion statistics with more doctors being enticed into co- operating in the killing of innocent and defenseless unborn children. This will increase the spiritual, physical and psychological damage to vulnerable women.

In the year ending the 30th June 2005, the Government paid certifying consultants $3,504,263 in fees for authorising abortions. It is now expected that these fees will exceed $7 million per annum. There are approximately 200 certifying consultants appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee. It is now expected on information received from the Committee that the five busiest consultants will receive in excess of $200 000 per annum in fees.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee in its annual report to Parliament in 1988 alluded to “the present unwieldy system of authorising the termination of potentially normal pregnancies on pseudo-legal grounds.” The previous chairwoman of the Committee, Dr Christine Forster stated in the Sunday Star Times of 5th November 2000, that 98% of abortions are authorised on the grounds that the life of the unborn child was a serious threat to the mental health of the mother. Dr Forster did not believe that all those women were in serious danger. “I think that people are fitting the grounds to the woman” Right to Life asks why then is the Government not only continuing to pay doctors to lie but is now increasing their fees to do so?

The anticipated $7 million in fees should be used to promote a culture of life, not a culture of death. It should be used to protect the human rights of unborn children and to promote the health and welfare of women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy. The Government should follow the commendable and compassionate example of the Australian Government. In March this year the Australian Government established the Pregnancy Advisory Committee and announced a $52 million program of financial assistance to pro-life counselling services. In New Zealand Pregnancy Counselling Services provide compassionate care to women before and after the birth of their child. Our Government refuses to provide any financial assistance to Pregnancy Counselling Services or any similar service.

ENDS

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