Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Abortion back in court

New Zealand's abortion laws are back in court today, with Right To Life New Zealand's appeal against the Abortion Supervisory Committee going before the Supreme Court. At stake is whether the Abortion Supervisory Committee has the power to second-guess the clinical decisions of medical professionals in certifying abortions - and ultimately whether women can access abortion at all:

Success for RTL on this front would almost certainly curtail abortion access in New Zealand. Opening medical decisions up to review by a politically appointed statutory body (the Abortion Supervisory Committee), would, at the very least, have a chilling effect on certifying consultants. How many will want to take on the job knowing political appointees will be looking over their shoulders?
Last year, in the wake of the Court of Appeal decision, I was confident Right To Life would lose. But the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand is not so confident. And when they're worried, we should all worry.

Of course, we wouldn't have this problem if Parliament had stepped up and passed an abortion law fit for the 21st century, rather than a 70's relic aimed at shaming and stigmatising women. But apparently, that's too much to expect from our cowardly politicians.