The Wireless has revealed an Auckland woman says a North Shore hospital counselor prevented her from accessing abortion by refusing to refer her to see certifying consultants. The woman was 18 weeks pregnant. She said she was so traumatised she considered suicide.

ALRANZ National President Terry Bellamak questioned the legal basis for the DHB’s actions.

“The law makes a distinction between abortions before 20 weeks and after. On what legal basis does the Waitemata DHB unilaterally restrict North Shore women to abortions under 18 weeks?” she asked.

“This case demonstrates how vulnerable a woman’s access to abortion is under the current legal regime that the government has somehow called ‘broadly satisfactory’.

“If DHB’s are allowed to interpret the law inconsistently, how will people who need an abortion know what their rights actually are?

“One of the purposes of having law is to make the rules of society predictable. This arbitrariness in the implementation of abortion law puts that kind of benign predictability out of reach. It makes a mockery of the rule of law.

“Where is the Abortion Supervisory Committee? What are they doing about these unjust inconsistencies?”

Under New Zealand’s abortion laws, two certifying consultants must approve every abortion under a narrow set of grounds set out in the Crimes Act. Those grounds do not include rape, nor the most common reasons cited overseas: contraception failure and the inability to support a child.

Poll results show a majority of New Zealanders support the right to access abortion on request.