New Zealand Court of Appeal Says Abortion Lawsuit Must Go to High Court

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Court of Appeal Says Abortion Lawsuit Must Go to High Court

by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 12
, 2009

Wellington, New Zealand ( — The New Zealand Court of Appeal today dismissed the appeals of the Abortion Supervisory Committee and Right to Life, which are disputing a court ruling it is allowing abortions for unlawful reasons.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee is contesting a ruling saying it is allowing abortions for mental health grounds that don’t qualify.

In June 2008, High Court Judge Forrest Miller wrote there was “reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorized by certifying consultants."

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

Right to Life of New Zealand cross-appealed and asserted the unborn child’s legal right to life because Judge Miller did not go as far as Right to Life wanted to say that an unborn child has a right to life.

The Court of Appeal said the case was outside its jurisdiction and the parties must return to the High Court for a declaration on the powers of the ASC as intended by Parliament.

The three appeal court judges also noted that the legislature could settle the dispute since the ASC was appointed by Parliament rather than by the judiciary.

The latest statistics from the New Zealand government show the number of abortions increased. The ASC report shows the government spending more than $5 million in taxpayer funds on abortions and consultations from abortion practitioners.

The government agency’s report indicates there were 18,382 abortions in 2007, which is an increase of 448 from the 2006 figures. The report showed the country having 19.6 abortions a year per 1000 women aged 15-44.

Pro-life groups decried the new figures because they indicate the island nation saw its second highest abortion total since abortions became legal.

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

Judge Miller, in his ruling, noted that 98.9% of the abortions were approved on mental health grounds. That is despite worldwide research — and studies in New Zealand — showing abortions cause women a plethora of mental health problems.

"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 at the time.

"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."

Related web sites:
Right to Life of New Zealand –

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