Thursday, August 09, 2012

The abortion decision

The Supreme Court has released its decision in Right to Life New Zealand Inc v The Abortion Supervisory Committee [PDF], and on the face of it, upheld the status quo. The Abortion Supervisory Committee can not inquire into or second-guess the clinical decisions of doctors to determine if they are consistent with legislation, even in anonymised, randomised cases. So, that's a victory for the (fairly rotten) status quo and a defeat for the anti-abortion nutcases. But its not all good news; the Court also ruled that the ASC can and should be inquiring into the general decision-making processes by which individual clinicians reach their decisions - which, given Right To Life's litigiousness, is going to invite more litigation as they target specific certifying consultants then try and force an ASC inquisition, then challenge any decision that everything is OK. Which is not going to encourage people to stay on as certifying consultants - but then, that's the point: RTL can't change the law, so they've turned to trying to intimidate and bully those who implement it.

The only way to prevent this is if Parliament steps up and passes an abortion law fit for the 21st century, rather than a 70's relic aimed at shaming and stigmatising women. But given the cowardice of our politicians, the odds of that look very slim indeed.