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High Court decision delights

Thursday, October 1, 2015

National News

A High Court ruling means that Bay of Plenty women will continue to be able to access abortion services in their own region.

Family Planning has maintained its licence to operate an early medical abortion service at its Tauranga clinic.

Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond says that the organisation is delighted with the decision.

“The intention of our Tauranga service was to meet an unmet need, reduce travel times for women and better integrate abortion into our other sexual and reproductive health services. Family Planning is grateful that no woman will be affected by the case,” says Ms Edmond.

The judgment from Justice Joe Williams specifically refrained from declaring the licence for our Tauranga Clinic as void. His judgment noted that the current operations of the clinic will not be affected.

However, Ms Edmond commented on how lucky Family Planning was. The decision could easily have gone the other way and women may not have continued to have the choice of having an early medical abortion in their home town. What this latest legal challenge highlights is the need for abortion law reform.

“As a provider of abortion services, Family Planning is keenly aware of the fragility of the current law. We know that groups, like Right to Life, will continue to try to poke holes in our failing and antiquated laws. What happens if next time they are successful?” says Ms Edmond.

Family Planning believes that in 2015 abortion should be treated as a health matter, instead of a crime. This aligns with 2012 advice from the United Nation’s Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which urged the New Zealand Government to decriminalise abortion and to reduce barriers caused by the complexity of our current law.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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