Doctors get $5m to okay abortions

The Dominion Post 17 December 2008
Doctors who approved abortions were paid more than $5 million in the year to June an increase of $1.5 million or more than 30 per cent in four years. The Abortion Supervisory Committee’s annual report says there were 18,382 abortions in 2007, 448 more than in 2006. Every abortion must be approved by two doctors, one of whom must be a gynaecologist or obstetrician. In the year to June, the Government paid 196 certifying consultants a total of $5,048,096.

Abortions are legal in New Zealand under certain conditions, including when pregnancy would endanger the mother’s life, her physical or mental health, or if there is a risk of the foetus being handicapped. More than 98 per cent of abortions are authorised on the grounds of risk to mental health. Earlier, a High Court judicial review found there was reason to doubt the lawfulness of many abortions and that the committee was wrong to interpret the law as meaning it had no power to review consultants’ decisions.

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