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Right to Life Seeks Leave to Appeal to Supreme Court

24 June 2011

Media Release

Right to Life Seeks Leave to Appeal to Supreme Court

Right to Life, has resolved to seek leave of the Supreme Court to allow an appeal against the judgment of the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal stated in its judgment of 1 June 2011 on the appeal of the Abortion Supervisory Committee and the cross appeal of Right to Life that the unborn child did not have a right to life.

The Appeal Court also overturned the judgment of Justice Forrest Miller in the High Court in 2008 which found that:

"The Committee does in fact have the power to require certifying consultants to keep records and report on cases they have considered." He also stated, "There is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants. Indeed the Committee itself has stated that the law is being used more liberally than Parliament intended."

Right to Life supports the dissenting opinion of Justice Arnold in the Court of Appeal, who stated that, "it is implausible that Parliament would have intended to preclude the Committee from keeping under review the way in which they performed their role."

Right to Life seeks to appeal on the following matters:

The legal recognition of children before birth as human beings endowed at conception by the Creator with human rights, the foundation right being a right to life.

Recognition that the Abortion Supervisory Committee has the statutory power and duty to review the performance of certifying consultants so that they may be accountable for the lawfulness of the abortions they authorise.

Recognition that abortion counsellors should be independent of abortion providers.

The overturning of the costs awarded by the Court of Appeal to the Abortion Supervisory Committee.

The right to life is the foundation of a civilised society. It is an indispensable guarantee of the individual worth of the person within it. The first duty of the State is to protect the right to life of all its members including its unborn children. To deny the right to life of unborn children is a violation of its human rights and a grave injustice.

Human life begins at conception and the new human being is endowed by its Creator with human rights, the foundation right being a right to life, these rights are inalienable and universal. From conception the new human being is entitled to the respect and protection due to the human person. Right to Life contends that unborn children as members of the human family are entitled to the protection of the New Zealand Bill of Rights, section 8 titled, Right not to be deprived of life. which states,

"No one shall be deprived of life except on such grounds as are established by law and are consistent with the principles of fundamental justice."

Right to Life contends that this is the justice issue of our era. The Royal Commission on Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion, in its report to Parliament in 1977 stated that:

"The unborn child as one of the weakest and most vulnerable forms of humanity should receive protection."

Justice Miller, in his judgment of 9 June 2008, stated that:

"the rule according human rights only at birth is founded on convenience rather that medical or moral grounds." And "A legal right to life would be incongruous in such a law, for it would treat the unborn child as a separate legal person, possessing a status fundamentally incompatible with induced abortion, far from modifying the born alive rule, the abortion law rests on it."

Right to Life commenced these proceedings as a Judicial Review of the Performance of the Supervisory Committee in 2005 in the High Court in Wellington. In the event that leave is granted to appeal to the Supreme Court, it is anticipated that the appeal may be heard early in 2012.

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