Report of the Abortion Supervisory Committee

  • Phil Goff
Unassigned Portfolio

The Minister of Justice, Phil Goff, says he will recommend to Cabinet that there
be a review of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act.

The Minister's statement follows the 1999 Report of the Abortion Supervisory
Committee which expressed its frustration that repeatedly the Government and
Parliament have ignored its recommendations.

"The truth is that current practice on abortion bears little relationship to the
intention of legislators back in 1977 when the law was passed. The law has also
failed to keep pace with technological changes.

"It is also clear that the existing law has failed to have any effect on
reducing the number of abortions which have nearly trebled since 1980.

"Time and social attitudes have moved on. It is desirable that there be
consistency between the law governing abortions and the practice.

"It is highly questionable whether the requirement for certifying consultants
and the annual expenditure of $2.7 million on fees for these consultants serves
any positive purpose.

"If the desire is, and it should be, to bring down the rate of abortions, then
this considerable sum of money would be better spent on contraceptive education
and provision to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.

"My view is that the recommendations of the Abortion Supervisory Committee
should be reviewed and legislation drawn up which if passed would give effect to
those recommendations.

"As legislation relating to abortion is a conscience issue for Members of
Parliament, it would be for individual parliamentarians to determine whether and
in what form legislative amendments would be passed", Mr Goff concluded.


Contact: Paul Goldsmith 04 471 9794 025 477 982