Health practitioners sue Crown over abortion legislation

8 March 2021

A new requirement in the Abortion Legislation Act 2020 requires a practitioner who objects to abortion to refer the patient to a doctor who can help them.

The Health Professionals' Alliance is fighting for a declaration that the new law interferes with the Bill of Rights Act.


New Zealand – Abortion reformists fuming after MPs scrap creation of ‘safe zones’ around clinics

Abortion reformists fuming after MPs scrap creation of 'safe zones' around clinics

Mar 11, 2020
Anna Bracewell-Worrall

Abortion reformists are fuming after politicians scrapped the creation of 'safe zones' outside abortion facilities because MPs were seemingly asleep at the wheel during the vote.

An element of the new abortion law would have allowed hospitals and clinics to apply for 'safe zones', where protesters couldn't interfere or interrupt patients or staff.


IN MEMORIAM – David Paintin, UK obstetrician-gynaecologist, lifelong abortion rights campaigner

IN MEMORIAM – David Paintin, UK obstetrician-gynaecologist, lifelong abortion rights campaigner

David Paintin Hon FFSRH MB ChB FRCOG was part of the group from the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRA) in Britain, which he joined in 1963, that supported Lord Silkin and MP David Steel during the parliamentary debates that resulted in the passage of the 1967 Abortion Act. He also worked hard to increase the acceptability of abortion. He promoted innovation and good practice through his involvement with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and by lecturing on the provision of legal abortion to medical students, family planning doctors and gynaecologists throughout the country.

David qualified in Bristol in 1954. He trained under the supervision of Professor Dugald Baird, in Aberdeen, also a strong abortion rights advocate, before becoming a reader in  obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London in 1963. From 1963 to 1991, based at St Mary’s Medical School, he organised the teaching of medical students and also as an honorary consultant, provided NHS abortion services for Paddington and North Kensington. He was a chair of the Birth Control Trust (1981-1998) and a trustee of the Pregnancy Advisory Service (1981-1996) and the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (1996-2003).

He continued to work on abortion issues. He was editor of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology for a period, and became Emeritus reader in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital. In a recent book, he reflected on the legal debates that led to the 1967 Abortion Act and its subsequent implementation, and attempts by parliamentarians to undermine and restrict abortion law in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s. He died aged 88 on 30 March 2019 after a long illness.

SOURCES: Friends of Bpas Newsletter, March 2019 ; Charter for Choice 2015 ; Wikipedia, 4 April 2019 ; Bucks Free Press, 5 April 2019


New Zealand – Doctors to fight new abortion law

Doctors to fight new abortion law
Group opposes any moves that erode rights in dealing with patients seeking terminations, writes Claire Trevett.

3 Dec, 2018
By: Claire Trevett, Deputy political editor, NZ Herald

A group of doctors opposed to abortion say they will fight any moves in looming reforms to erode their rights to refuse to deal with patients wanting abortions. The issue of referring patients seeking abortions to another doctor has drawn opposition from the group.

Justice Minister Andrew Little says he agrees with a Law Commission proposal for doctors who are "conscientious objectors" to abortion to be made to directly refer a patient on to another doctor who they know will provide the service.


New Zealand – Using illegally imported abortion kits ‘potentially life threatening’

Using illegally imported abortion kits 'potentially life threatening'
A doctor who performs abortions in Christchurch says she's "disturbed" people are illegally importing abortion medicine.

5 November 2018

Last year, 39 "kits" containing abortion medicines mifepristone and/or misoprostol were seized at the border, according to regulator Medsafe. The pills induce miscarriage and are used for early medical abortions for women up to 10 weeks pregnant.

Certifying consultant and abortion provider Dr Pippa Mackay said she was concerned to hear about people importing abortion providing pills they had bought online, when abortions were safe and accessible in New Zealand.


New Zealand – Abortion law reform options an improvement – advocate

Abortion law reform options an improvement - advocate

27 October 2018

The Law Commission has recommended decriminalising abortion and making it simpler for a woman to get a procedure.

The minister, Andrew Little, asked the Law Commission in February for options on changing the 40-year-old law, and it reported back yesterday. Mr Little will now consult with his government partners and take a paper to Cabinet.


New Zealand – Abortion case taken to Human Rights Commission

Abortion case taken to Human Rights Commission

Sasha Borissenko of
Oct 08 2018

Six women who have sought abortion care and the Abortion Law Reform Association (ALRANZ) have taken a complaint to the Human Rights Commission alleging abortion laws discriminate against women and pregnant people.

ALRANZ's complaint to the commission on behalf of the women alleges "people who seek abortion care receive different and demonstrably worse treatment than other people seeking health care", according to ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak.


New Zealand – Labour moves to legalise abortion

Labour moves to legalise abortion

FEBRUARY 16, 2018
Thomas Coughlan

Andrew Little today fired the starting gun on reforming New Zealand's decades-old abortion laws, confirming that he had sent a draft referral to the two other governing parties for their comment. Thomas Coughlan reports on what to expect from the law change.

Andrew Little surprised observers today when he revealed that a draft referral on reforming New Zealand's abortion law had been circulated to New Zealand First and the Greens. Little said today that he received a letter from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after the coalition was formed directing him to begin the process of reforming the law. Once the two parties give feedback, the referral will be sent to the Law Commission to make a recommendation.


UK: Fifty years on, the Abortion Act should be celebrated – and updated

Fifty years on, the Abortion Act should be celebrated – and updated
Wendy Savage
It was – and still is – landmark legislation for women. But some aspects are not fit for purpose in the 21st century

Friday 27 October 2017

Today is the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that allowed doctors in Great Britain to perform abortions lawfully so long as certain conditions were met. Doctors were given the responsibility of deciding if a woman met the conditions laid down by the act. The act has achieved its objective of eliminating deaths from illegal abortion and this fact – and the relief of millions of women who faced an unwanted pregnancy – should be celebrated.

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UK: I introduced the Abortion Act 50 years ago this week. This is why it now needs extending

I introduced the Abortion Act 50 years ago this week. This is why it now needs extending

Northern Ireland’s lack of access to abortion and the fact that we won’t decriminalise it altogether in England and Wales puts us miles behind our European neighbours who allow all women to access abortions on request

David Steel
Thursday 26 October 2017

I recently encountered a professor of medicine who fifty years ago was a young medical student witnessing the passing of the Abortion Act into law. His lecturer held up a newly printed copy of the Act and said: “This is a historic day because your generation of doctors will never have to confront the consequences of botched abortions”. If only this had truly been the case.

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