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Cost in abortion case 'could pay for quarter of a million condoms'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

For the money the government has spent defending itself in the 6-year-long Right to Life anti-abortion case, it could have paid for more than a quarter of a million condoms, preventing scores of unplanned pregnancies and abortions, ALRANZ President Dr. Morgan Healey said today.

Information obtained by ALRANZ under the Official Information Act shows that since Right to Life began its case in 2005, the Abortion Supervisory Committee has spent $387,585 on legal representation and fees.

Since that doesn't include expenses like running the courts or the salaries of the 14 judges who have been involved in this case, the total cost to the taxpayer is likely to be a lot higher.

"By our calculations, what the ASC alone has spent could buy Kiwis more than a quarter of a million condoms, over 1,000 vasectomies, and more than 9,500 doses of Emergency Contraception - any of which would prevent more unplanned pregnancies and abortions than Right to Life has done in its legal assault against New Zealanders' access to abortion care," Dr. Healey said.

The 26 August 2011 decision allowing Right to Life to appeal parts of its case to the Supreme Court means tens of thousands more taxpayer dollars will be spent, and the cruel uncertainty faced by women and doctors over our unworkable abortion laws will continue, she said.

"MPs seem happy to let the status quo stand - a status quo that has seen our abortion laws under continuous litigation for more than six years," Dr. Healey said. "If this were any issue other than abortion, decisive legislative action would have been taken long ago."

She said ALRANZ didn't know who was funding Right to Life's case, nor how much it had spent so far, though estimated the figure to be above

$100,000. "If preventing abortion is their goal, we suggest Right to Life put the money into a safe-sex campaign, since more than 54 percent of women who had abortions in 2009 were not using any form of contraception," Dr. Healey said. (ASC Annual Report, 2010.)

For a timeline of the case since 2005, visit:

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