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Certifying consultant comes out in support of abortion rights

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A certifying consultant, Dr Helen Paterson, has told the Abortion Supervisory Committee she now supports abortion rights, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand says.

Dr Paterson’s disclosure challenges s 30(5) of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977, which directs the Abortion Supervisory Committee not to appoint certifying consultants who believe abortion should be a matter between a patient and their doctor.

ALRANZ National President Terry Bellamak says Dr Paterson is now a member of ALRANZ.

"The New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 promises Kiwis freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

"That a government body such as the Abortion Supervisory Committee is directed by law to refuse appointment as a certifying consultant on the basis of a person’s opinion is outrageous.

"ALRANZ salutes Dr Paterson for her courage in coming forward and speaking the truth to the Abortion Supervisory Committee.

"We support her efforts, and will continue to support her in future."

Under our abortion laws, two certifying consultants must approve every abortion under a narrow set of grounds set out in the Crimes Act. Those grounds do not include rape, nor the most common reasons cited overseas: contraception failure and the inability to support a child.

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