.- New Zealandâs Abortion Supervisory Committee is appealing a High Court judgeâs decision that said there is reason to doubt the legality of many abortions in the country.
On June 9 Justice Forrest Miller, having a completed a Judicial Review of the Abortion Supervisory Committee on the High Court in Wellington, issued a judgement finding âthere is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants. Indeed the Committee itself has stated that the law is being used more liberally than Parliament intended.â
âIn my opinion, the statistics and the Committeeâs comments over the years since the Court of Appeal made that observation do give rise to powerful misgivings about the lawfulness of many abortions,â he wrote, adding that the data tend to confirm the view that New Zealand âessentially has abortion on request.â
A registered practitioner may legally perform an abortion in New Zealand only if acting under a certificate approved by two consultants, who are appointed by the Abortion Supervisory Committee.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee is seeking to reverse Justice Millerâs judgment on several grounds in the Court of Appeals. According to a statement from Right to Life New Zealand, the committeeâs appeal argues there was no evidence for doubting the lawfulness of many abortions or for its claim that the approval rate for abortions âseems remarkably high.â
The appeal also argues that the Court made a legal error in concluding that the committee can form its own opinion about the lawfulness of consultantsâ decisions to grant or to refuse approval for an abortion.
Right to Life New Zealand said it is confident the Court of Appeal will uphold Justice Millerâs ruling. The organization also stated it will cross-appeal and re-present its case, previously denied in the High Court, arguing for the legal recognition of the status of the unborn child.