26 Sep 2020

Plea for complaints system for women denied reproductive healthcare

10:44 am on 26 September 2020

Abortion law reformists want a complaints system for women who are being obstructed when seeking reproductive healthcare.

Contraception/ contraceptive pill

Photo: filmfoto/123RF

A Family Planning survey has found 5 percent of respondents were refused birth control on the grounds their GP was morally or personally opposed to it.

The survey, which was released yesterday, had more than 6700 respondents and asked a range of questions relating to contraception use.

Family Planning says doctors are legally able to morally object to providing contraceptive advice.

The survey found that 5 percent of respondents, which equated to 290 women, had been refused a service based on moral grounds.

Abortion Law Reform Association president Terry Bellamak said the Ministry of Health should look at setting up a system so women can formally complain about their experience of being denied reproductive healthcare.

She said doctors who refuse contraceptives or abortions to patients on moral or religious grounds probably should not be doctors.

"I have to question whether someone who is unwilling to do the whole job should actually be in that job. I question whether in 2020 another profession is the right place for someone who refuses to supply contraception."

She said the government must ensure people do not have to fight for care from their doctors.

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