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Cost to Taxpayers of Anti-Abortion Case: $280,000

MEDIA RELEASE
19 July 2009 Abortion Law Reform Association of NZ


Cost to Taxpayers of Anti-Abortion Case: $280,000


Information just released under the Official Information Act shows Right to Life’s on-going legal effort to restrict abortion in New Zealand has cost taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars, Alranz president Dr. Margaret Sparrow said today.

The case, which is back in the High Court tomorrow, began in 2005 and, according to the Abortion Supervisory Committee, has cost the government $279,850.
(A copy of the information from the ASC is available on request.)

“The ASC told us that as defendant in this long-running case, it had ‘no choice’ in this matter, which is just what Right to Life wants for New Zealand women: no choice,” Dr. Sparrow said.

“Right to Life has called the money spent on abortion services ‘scandalous’, but the real scandal is engaging in costly litigation aimed at taking away rights and freedoms and health services enjoyed by New Zealand women,” she said. “That, and forcing the government to spend more than a quarter of a million dollars to defend them.”

So far, nine judges have been involved in the case, Dr. Sparrow said. “Parliament could put a stop to these endless and expensive legal assaults by following the Australian state of Victoria and decriminalising abortion.”

“Abortion is not a crime and should be treated like any other private medical matter,” she said.

Background on the Case:
Tomorrow’s hearing in the High Court follows an Appeal Court ruling in May that the parties must seek declaratory orders. Right to Life has stated it may follow those orders with yet another appeal, including that embryos and fetuses should be persons under the law, a move that wouldn’t just end women’s access to safe abortions, but would have implications for IVF, stem-cell research and contraceptive methods like IUDs, emergency contraception and possibly even the pill.

A TIMELINE OF THE CASE is at alranz.org

ends

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