24 June 2015                                                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The anti-abortion group in the middle of legal action aimed at shutting down Family Planning’s early medication abortion service in Tauranga still owes the government $72,500 in court costs over its previous case, information just released under the Official Information Act reveals.

Information issued on Tuesday by the Crown Law Office shows that the anti-choice group Right to Life owes the money in Court of Appeal and High Court costs in relation to its seven-year case against the Abortion Supervisory Committee, which it eventually lost in the Supreme Court in 2012, the newly elected president of ALRANZ (Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand), Terry Bellamak, said today.

“Our outdated criminalised abortion laws invite these kinds of cases,” Ms. Bellamak said. “And the government’s failure to recover what it is owed three years after the end of Right to Life’s last case certainly doesn’t help discourage them.”

Ms. Bellamak said that both the 2012 case and the current legal action were aimed at exploiting New Zealand’s 38-year-old abortion laws, which can’t accommodate either modern medicine or women’s reproductive rights.

ALRANZ Secretary, Annabel Henderson Morrell voiced dismay that the government has taken so long to recover money in a case that likely cost taxpayers at least 10 times the amount owed by Right to Life.

“The Abortion Supervisory Committee told us in 2012 it had spent nearly half a million dollars defending itself in that case,” she said, “It’s appalling they had to resort to that. That funding could’ve been used for far more beneficial outcomes such as increased resourcing for comprehensive sexuality education in schools, or wider subsidisation of contraceptive options,” she said.

In its Official Information Act response, Crown Law wrote that it “is continuing to pursue payment of that amount and has most recently advised RTL that it must pay costs before 31 July 2015.”

A ruling is pending from the High Court in Right to Life’s current case, which challenges the Abortion Supervisory Committee’s granting of a licence for Family Planning to provide early medication abortions at its Tauranga clinic.

A timeline of the 7-year court case that ended in 2012 is here: http://www.alranz.org/takeaction/factsheets/RTLVASC.html

Click this link for a .pdf of the OIA Letter (Address of recipient redacted by ALRANZ): Crown_Law_23_June_2015.



ALRANZ: 021-082-76474