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The Right to Freedom of Conscience

By Neil Vaney Introduction A recent post from Terry Bellamak, new president of the Abortion Law Rights Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ), questions why health professionals such as doctors and nurses should be legally able to use the claim of freedom of conscience in refusing to provide contraceptive or abortion advice or services. (http://wp.me/x1XY6w-z1, 14 Sep 2015). Bellamak likens this to the case of Kim Davis, county clerk of Rowan …Read More

GP pleased Medical Council drops abortion statement appeal

Media statement: Dr Catherine Hallagan, a General Practitioner from Wellington and spokesperson for the New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance, told NZ Doctor that the NZHPA is very pleased that the Medical Council has abandoned its appeal. Dr Hallagan said that she had felt strongly about challenging the Medical Council’s draft statement on “Beliefs and medical practice”since first reading it in 2009. “I was shocked at what I read and I believed that …Read More

GP pleased Medical Council drops abortion statement appeal

Media statement from Catherine Hallagan Dr Catherine Hallagan, a General Practitioner from Wellington and spokesperson for the New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance, told NZ Doctor that the NZHPA is very pleased that the Medical Council has abandoned its appeal. Dr Hallagan said that she had felt strongly about challenging the Medical Council’s draft statement on “Beliefs and medical practice”since first reading it in 2009. “I was shocked at what I read …Read More

Back to court to fight out doctors’ abortion advice role

Legal debate is set to resume over a doctor’s obligations when consulted about abortion. The Medical Council has appealed last year’s High Court judgement requiring it to change its guidance to doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion. Talks have failed so far Talks are continuing between the council and those who brought a case against it, says council chair John Adams. “We have always been hopeful of a resolution, …Read More

Medical council appeals abortion ruling

The Medical Council is appealing a High Court judgment that it must change its advice to doctors who conscientiously object to abortion. Council chairman John Adams said Tawa Medical Centre GP Catherine Hallagan and the New Zealand Health Professionals Alliance had last year instigated a judicial review which challenged the council’s advice to doctors on abortion and their own personal beliefs. Wellington High Court judge Justice Alan MacKenzie ruled in …Read More

Abortion statement defeated in court

The Medical Council is considering amendments to its draft statement on how doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion must respond to a patient requesting an abortion. Conscientiously objecting doctors have successfully challenged the statement in court, saying it wrongly requires them to give advice that might facilitate the patient obtaining an abortion. A ruling from High Court judge Alan MacKenzie, released this month, orders changes to the statement (>>nzdoctor.co.nz, …Read More

Doctors’ right to refuse abortion advice upheld

The High Court has upheld the right of doctors who object to abortion to opt out of giving advice to patients seeking the procedure. The court last month heard a case taken by Wellington GP Catherine Hallagan, who objected to proposed changes to Medical Council guidelines regarding beliefs and medical practice. Her lawyer said the proposed guidelines went too far in defining the way in which doctors should handle patients …Read More

Judge upholds doctors’ stance on abortion advice

The High Court has upheld the right of doctors with a conscientious objection to abortion to opt out of giving advice to patients seeking the procedure. The case, which was heard last month, was taken by a Wellington GP who objected to proposed changes to Medical Council guidelines on how doctors deal with abortion requests. Justice Mackenzie found the guidelines went too far in requiring medical practitioners to provide information …Read More

Doctors’ abortion guidelines overstep law

New Medical Council guidelines for doctors dealing with the issue of abortion have overstepped the law and need to be amended, the High Court has ruled. Among the requirements in the council’s beliefs and medical practice statement, doctors were required to ensure patients were aware that abortion was an option if they were concerned about their pregnancies. Doctors who did not want to provide the service could refer the request …Read More

Challengers defeat council in abortion ruling

The Medical Council has overstepped the law in its draft statement on how doctors who hold a conscientious objection to abortion must respond to a patient requesting an abortion. The statement must be amended, says a ruling from High Court judge Alan MacKenzie, released today. The judge has accepted some of the arguments of conscientiously objecting doctors who say the statement wrongly requires them to give advice that might facilitate …Read More