Woah, loads of debate last week on gay mairrage and the like. Great stuff.
Another important issue that hasn’t received as much attention was the decision last week by the Supreme Court who confirmed three-to-two that the Abortion Supervisory Committee has no power to examine certifying consultants’ decisions allowing abortions in individual cases.
Right to Life New Zealand fought against the decision by the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal had decided by a majority that the committee was not empowered to examine the lawfulness or the clinical correctness of particular decisions made by certifying consultants.
A Supreme Court majority of Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias and judges Justice Peter Blanchard, now retired, and Justice Andrew Tipping upheld the Court of Appeal decision.
The Supreme Court majority thought the committee could ask consultants how they were approaching decision-making in general over the whole of their caseloads, a statement from the Supreme Court said.
But the majority view was that the committee could not question consultants about how they came to a diagnosis or conclusion in a particular case, even a case selected at random and presented anonymously in a consultant’s report.
While this may seem pretty ordinary, it actually has wide-reaching implications. The Supreme Court has basically said that the law as it stands does not allow the ASC to check in with dodgy consultants who are signing off on abortions on the weak grounds of mental health.
Odd and a real shame that most mainstream media did not run comments from Right to Life, which you would expect them to.
Right to Life, is however, disappointed that the Supreme Court dismissed the first grounds of our appeal of the judgment of the Court of Appeal. This ground sought recognition that the Committee had the power to review or scrutinize the decisions of certifying consultants and form its own view about the lawfulness of their decisions to the extent necessary to perform its functions.
Right to Life notes that 98 per cent of abortions are authorized on the grounds of mental health. Right to Life also notes that a previous chairperson of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, stated in a national newspaper in 2000 that she did not believe that all these women were suffering from mental ill health and that consultants were using mental health grounds to provide abortion on demand.
A set back for the pro-life movement. But we’ll soldier on. Thank God for good people like Ken Orr and Right to Life, for being brave and stepping up to fight the good fight on behalf of the unborn.
St. Mark the Evangalist, patron saint of lawyers, pray for us.