From the Guardian in the UK
Ministers back anti-abortion lobby reforms
The government has caved in to calls from anti-abortionists to overhaul existing protocols and strip charities and medics of their exclusive responsibility for counselling women seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
The Department of Health confirmed that it would change the rules to ensure that women are also offered counselling “independently” of existing abortion services. Its announcement was made in advance of an attempt next week led by the Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries to amend the health and social care bill to force such a requirement. Dorries says that the charity-run abortion services – including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and Marie Stopes – have a financial conflict of interest in advising women seeking terminations. She says that by offering independent counselling, 60,000 of the 200,000 abortions each year could be prevented.
The majority of New Zealanders think women considering abortion have the right to be fully informed of the medical risks of abortion – and the alternatives.
In the poll of 1,000 people undertaken by Curia Market Research in March, respondents were asked “Would you support a law that would require a woman considering an abortion to first see a doctor, who is not an abortion provider, to be informed of the medical risks and alternatives to abortion?”
64% supported this proposed law, 29% disagreed, and the remainder (8%) were either unsure or refused to answer. Interestingly, women were slightly more in favour of informed consent than men. There was also significant support from younger people (18-30).
Family First NZ is calling for a law which requires informed consent including ultrasound for all potential abortions, and counselling to be provided only by non-providers of abortion services. Parental notification of teenage pregnancy and abortion should happen automatically except in exceptional circumstances approved by the court. A poll last year found almost 80% support for parental notification laws.
It looks like the majority of people believe women have the right to the best independent information and advice before making a decision that could impact them later in life. Decriminalisation – which we virtually have at the moment anyway – will simply place more pressure on women to access an abortion without any need for fully informed consent.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee has been rebuked by the High Court recently for not administering the law correctly, and it is time to revisit the abortion-on-demand culture that currently exists in NZ.
Abortion can harm women – yet groups seeking to decriminalise abortion refuse to acknowledge this, seeing the right to abortion more paramount than the long-term health and welfare of the women.