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ALRANZ Condemns Threats and Lies
Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
9 October 2009
The anti-abortion group Right to Life is using threats, intimidation tactics and lies in its latest attempt to limit New Zealand women’s access to reproductive health care, the president of the Abortion Law Reform Association, Dame Margaret Sparrow, said today.
“Right to Life, which is already engaged in long-running legal battle to end abortion in New Zealand, is threatening fresh legal action against a Family Planning proposal to provide early medical abortions,” Dame Margaret said. “But perhaps even worse than the legal threats is the lies.”
More than 15 percent of New Zealand women have trouble accessing early abortion services, she said, and the Family Planning initiative will simply make a practice that is already taking place in New Zealand safer for women.
Among the misinformation that must be corrected:
* That Mifegyne (mifepristone or RU486) is “dangerous” and “lethal”. Having an early medical abortion is about 10 times safer than giving birth. Furthermore in 2005 the World Health Organisation put mifepristone on the list of its essential medicines for developing countries because of its significance for public health. Interestingly, mifepristone is many times safer for women than taking Viagra is for men.
* That more accessible medical abortion services will lead to an increase in abortions. In Sweden, France and Great Britain, availability of medical abortion did not increase the number of abortions. In New Zealand medical abortion has been available since 2001 and there has actually been a leveling off in numbers in the last eight years. The peak year was 2003.
“The Crown has spent well over a quarter of a million dollars defending New Zealand women in Right to Life’s other case, which has been going on for more than four years,” she said. “The latest threats simply serve to show that the group knows it cannot win in the court of public opinion.”
Dame Margaret said Alranz had long called for the law to be changed to make medical abortions more acceptable and available for New Zealand women. “We applaud the Family Planning initiative”.
For more information on early medical abortion, please visit:
Dame Margaret Sparrow, Alranz National President: