UK Govt backs informed consent – time for NZ to

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.

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3 comments for “UK Govt backs informed consent – time for NZ to

  1. Rebecca
    29 August 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I disagree that the groups seeking to decrimimalise abortion are putting the right of abortion over the welfare and health of women. It should not be a crime to have an abortion. Why is a crime in the first place?

    Making abortion a crime is what limits the resources, and interferes with the long term health and welfare of women. The psychological aspects associated with being a criminal for making a choice to have an abortion will of course negatively affect a woman’s health.

    Like any medical procedure there is some risk. The risk of going through a cesarean and possibly even natural birth are probably higher than having an abortion. I feel the last few silly paragraphs of this article do not speak the truth but only puts more pressure, guilt and dis-empowers women.

  2. Bob
    29 August 2011 at 8:11 pm

    A University of Otago study in 2008 found that women who had an abortion faced a 30% increase in the risk of developing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Other studies have found a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders. And the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK recommended updating abortion information leaflets to include details of the risks of depression. They said that consent could not be informed without the provision of adequate and appropriate information.

    With 98% of abortions in NZ being performed on the basis of the mental health of the mother, it is time that the research on the post-abortion mental health outcomes was given equal weight with the pro-abortion claims.

    Along with protecting the rights of the unborn child, we need to protect the rights of women and young girls to know the medical facts in order that they can make fully informed decisions

    Why are we scared of fully informing women???

  3. Stephen.H.
    1 September 2011 at 8:38 pm

    Others must be busy, but we should not weary of speaking the truth and get to the point where we let these comments pass. So I’ll do it.

    Of course the issue here is looking for balance in the advice given to women with an unwanted pregnancy. It’s a good and reasonable demand, so let’s continue to discuss it.

    But I don’t want it to pass without comment, “why is abortion a crime in the first place?” It is because it is murder. Unlimited resources should be available to women with a pregnancy, but our failure to do this does not justify actions which make many sensible people cry, wail and throw-up.

    I’ll state my belief again: I believe abortionists, and people who genuinely think it is okay, are utterly immoral, or insane. Let them say once and for all: when does life begin: at conception, or in the birth canal.

    Now explain the actual physical details of the proceedure to a child.

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