by intern Andy M. (who hails from New Zealand)
A monumental case is brewing in New Zealand, the biggest development since abortion was legalized in 1977.
Justice Forrest Miller, High Court judge in the June 2008 case of Right to Life NZ v. The Abortion Supervisory Committee, made a statement which put panic into the complacent members of the anti-life lobby in NZ, while pro-life groups rallied at the official recognition of what they had been saying for so long…
There is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions authorised by certifying consultants. Indeed, the [Abortion Supervisory] Committee itself has stated that the law is being used more liberally than Parliament intended…
…The [ASC] has misinterpreted its functions and powers under the abortion law, reasoning incorrectly that Wall v Livingston means it may not review or scrutinise the decisions of certifying consultants.
98.7% of the 18k+ abortions performed in 2007 were justified on the grounds of the mental health of the mother being at risk. It is patently obvious that 98.7% of pregnant women in NZ are not mentally unfit to give birth to their unborn children. The vast majority of this figure actually represents “convenience abortions.”
However NZ law states that an abortion is only justified if it “is immediately necessary to save the life of the patient or to prevent serious permanent injury to her physical or mental health.” The Crimes Act also states that the only exception where an abortion is justified is if it is “in good faith for the preservation of the life of the mother.”
Though Justice Miller ruled in favor of RTL, the ASC subsequently appealed the ruling, and so on May 12-13, 2009, RTL will be in the Court of Appeal, opposing the overruling of Justice Miller’s original decisions that “there is reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions…”, and that the ASC has misinterpreted its function. With nowhere else to turn, the ASC has (groundlessly) appealed the ruling in a desperate effort to vindicate themselves.
If Miller’s ruling is upheld, this will herald a significant shake-up for the application of abortion law in NZ. It will re-establish the precedent that the unborn child has a status that merits protection in law, and that abortion “for reasons of social convenience” is morally wrong. Certifying consultants will be forced to be much more hesitant to approve an abortion on mental-health grounds.
It is imperative that justice prevail and Justice Miller’s original ruling be upheld, and to this end we would encourage any Christians reading this to pray for God‘s blessing on the case.
Those interested can follow the case at Right to Life NZ.