Southland abortion decision upsets pro-lifers
A pro-life group says the Southern District Health Board tried to fly under the radar with its decision to go ahead with an abortion service in Invercargill.
Southlanders for Life has accused the health board of being deliberately secretive during the process of establishing the service.
Southlanders for Life spokesman Father Vaughan Leslie said the group was so disturbed by the lack of consultation by the health board with the public that a formal complaint would be laid with the ombudsman against the health board.
"The grounds for the complaint are the decision to implement this controversial service is being done without appropriate and required community communication and dialogue," Father Leslie said.
However, the health board said it was happy with the decision to go ahead with the service.
Acting chairman Paul Menzies said the board discussed the process undertaken to plan and approve the abortion service at Southland Hospital and was satisfied with its approach.
There were a range of views in the community around the provision of an abortion service, Mr Menzies said.
However, Father Leslie said the health board had breached its own guidelines by failing to consult with its constituents.
Any new service needed to have a consultation process and the board had failed to adhere to that policy, he said.
Father Leslie said opposition to the service had fallen on deaf ears.
"Our presentation to the board earlier this month and ongoing petition showed the board were not willing to involve the community," he said.
A meeting against the proposal was held on June 14 and more than 200 attended. Board members were invited but did not attend.
Their lack of attendance was a disgrace and an insult to constituents who had valid concerns about the service, the group said.
The abortion service is scheduled to begin before the end of this month but will depend on referrals, a health board spokesman said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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