The Dominion Post 05/10/2010
Pro-choice campaigners say the time has come for Parliament to review the abortion law as the latest battle in a legal war over the issue begins today.
The Court of Appeal will revisit a landmark High Court decision, made by Justice Forrest Miller in 2008, that the law was being interpreted more liberally than Parliament intended and there was “reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions”.
That ruling was a response to legal action taken by anti-abortion group Right to Life against the government-appointed Abortion Supervisory Committee, which reviews the way the law is followed. Both the committee and Right to Life have appealed against the decision.
Abortion is legal only if two certifying consultants conclude that continuing the pregnancy would pose a serious danger to a woman’s physical or mental health. Nearly 99 per cent of abortions are granted on mental health grounds – a figure that both pro- and anti-abortion groups say shows the law is a farce.
..Right to Life’s cross-appeal will seek to overturn Justice Miller’s decision that it is up to Parliament to oversee the Abortion Supervisory Committee’s activities. The group will also challenge his rulings that foetuses do not have full human rights and that abortion counselling should not be independent of abortion providers.