4 Aug 2012

Anti-abortionists go to ombudsman to halt clinic

6:12 am on 4 August 2012

A group of anti-abortionists will go to the ombudsman to try to stop an abortion clinic being established at Southland Hospital.

The group - Southlanders for Life - has been joined by the Catholic Church.

The Dunedin Catholic Bishop, Colin Campbell, has sent a letter to all churches in his diocese asking parishioners to oppose what he calls the "culture of death" in New Zealand.

He wants Southern District Health Board to decline a licence to perform abortions at Southland hospital and has called on members of the Catholic Church to raise their voices both publicly and privately.

He says setting up an abortion clinic at Southland hospital denies the rights of humans to life.

Spokesperson for Southlanders for Life Dr Norman MacLean says the next move for the organisation is a complaint to the ombudsman, asking him to intervene, because the DHB did not publicly consult on the issue.

The DHB says it has followed the correct process and the clinic will open later this month.

The bishop's letter comes in the same week the Government received a draft United Nations committee report urging abortion reform in New Zealand.

The UN says abortion remains criminalised and women are discriminated against because they need two specialists to give the go-ahead for an abortion.