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Doctor Reported to Police for Unlawful Abortions

Media Release 6 September 2014

Doctor Reported to Police for Unlawful Abortions

Right to Life in the absence of action by the Medical Council and the Abortion Supervisory Committee has laid a complaint with the Police Department against a doctor for facilitating four unlawful abortions. The Medical Council advised Right to Life that it was “the Police who were responsible for initiating a Police enquiry”, The Council advised that, “any person may refer information in their possession to the Police if that person believes it is appropriate in the circumstances.” The Abortion Supervisory Committee advised that it was aware in May 2013 of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Committee’s decision in respect of Dr N. The Committee advised that it was not intending to take steps to refer this matter to the Police.

The doctor called Dr N was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal for breaches of the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977, and for prescribing the drug Misoprostol unlawfully to four women for the purpose of terminating the lives of their unborn children. The drug acts by causing uterine contractions resulting in the death of the child in the womb. Doctor N has been granted permanent name suppression by the High Court.

The Tribunal suspended Dr N from practicing for six months last year and imposed a number of other requirements concerning the conduct of her practice. The Tribunal found that the doctor had acted unlawfully in breach of the Contraception Sterilisation Act 1977. The Act requires that abortions may be authorised by two certifying consultants appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee and that pregnancy counselling be available and offered. The law also requires that abortions take place only in a facility licensed to perform abortions. These requirements are there to protect the health and welfare of women and to protect the right to life of unborn children.

It is a serious crime to kill an unborn child. The Crimes Act 1961, section 183 states that anyone who unlawfully administers any poison or drug to any women for the purpose of procuring a miscarriage is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years. Why then are criminal charges not being heard in Court?

Four children in the womb have had their lives unlawfully and violently terminated by Dr N. This is a violation of the children’s inalienable human rights, the foundation right being a right to life. The lives and welfare of her four patients were placed in danger by the actions of Dr N. Right to Life has a degree of sympathy for Dr N who claimed that she was suffering from stress from a very busy practice. Dr N may well have been sincere in endeavouring to do her best for four of her patients who were faced with a crisis pregnancy.

It is important that the criminal law be respected and upheld. Right to Life is now awaiting the decision of the Police on whether they will lay charges with the High Court.

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