Good news! The early medication abortion service at Family Planning’s Tauranga clinic is to stay open, thanks to a ruling in the High Court yesterday (1 Oct.), which came four months after the anti-abortion group Right to Life made its case that the licence for the clinic was unlawful.

Here are some useful links:

• A .pdf of the High Court decision is here.

• Family Planning’s media release.

• Coverage in NZ Herald and Radio New Zealand.

• Some background on the case, including a post by ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak, Making Abortion Dearer, and Alison McCulloch, Abortion Access Goes Back to Court.

And here’s ALRANZ’s media release:

             Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand

2 October 2015                                                                       Media Release


The Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand today applauded the High Court decision allowing the Family Planning Clinic in Tauranga to continue providing medical abortions.

Yesterday’s judgment came four months after the challenge to Family Planning’s licence by the anti-abortion group Right to Life was heard in the court, and effectively ruled the licence is lawful. In its decision, the High Court found that the usual rules of statutory interpretation apply, meaning the law is taken to evolve to cover situations that may not have existed when it was written.

Early medical abortion did not exist when the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act 1977 was passed. The court’s decision allows the Abortion Supervisory Committee to take into account how safe early medical abortion is.

“We are delighted that the pioneering Tauranga Family Planning clinic will be able to continue its work, and would like to see this model expanded to other regions that have little or no access to services,” ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak said. “But pregnant people still have to jump through the usual paternalistic hoops to access the health care they need.”

“As long as Parliament continues to turn a blind eye to the Rube Goldberg abortion laws in New Zealand, groups like Right to Life that believe bodily autonomy and consent do not apply to pregnant people will continue to find ways of challenging in the old legal regime,” she said.

“The Government will continue to spend money defending an obsolete, dysfunctional legal regime, DHBs will continue to waste money administering unnecessary regulations and funding unnecessary consultations to prove the boxes have been ticked. And pregnant people will continue to waste time and money jumping through hoops,” Ms. Bellamak said.

ALRANZ calls upon Parliament to end the farce and finally bring New Zealand’s abortion law into the 21st century.

For more information, contact:
mob: 021 082-76474 

ALRANZ (Abortion Law Reform Assoc NZ)