New Zealand Agency Disputes Ruling Abortions Done for Illegal Reasons

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 5, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Agency Disputes Ruling Abortions Done for Illegal Reasons

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 5
, 2008

Wellington, New Zealand ( — A New Zealand governmental committee is disputing a court ruling that it is allowing abortions for unlawful reasons. The Abortion Supervisory Committee is contesting a ruling saying the agency is allowing abortions for mental health grounds that don’t qualify.

In June, High Court Judge Forrest Miller wrote there was “reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorized by certifying consultants."

The committee has appealed the ruling and has filed papers with the appeals court saying there is no evidence to justify Judge Miller’s conclusion.

The agency is also disputing Judge Miller’s decision to put the agency "on notice" of apparent non-compliance and saying he had the power to review the decisions by the agency’s consultants allowing the disputed abortions.

Judge Miller, in his ruling, noted that 98.9% of the abortions were approved on mental health grounds.

No date has been set for the Appeal Court hearing but Right to Life of New Zealand has said it will cross-appeal and intends to assert the unborn child’s legal right to life.

Judge Miller did not go as far as Right to Life wanted to say that an unborn child has a right to life.

The latest statistics from the New Zealand government show the number of abortions increased slightly from 2006 to 2007. Pro-life groups decried the new figures because they indicate the island nation saw its second highest abortion total since abortions became legal.

Statistics New Zealand shows 18,380 abortions reported for 2007, an increase of 450 abortions over the 17,930 reported in 2,006.

The numbers results in a 2.5 percent increase in the number of abortions during the one-year period.

"Each abortion is a tragedy for the unborn child that is destroyed and for the mother who is the second victim of abortion," Ken Orr of Right to Life of New Zealand, told

"Abortion is the ultimate in domestic violence and in child abuse; women will not be safe until the law effectively protects them and their unborn," he added. "Often it is not women who choose abortion, it is often a decision made by others."


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