Abortion petition gathers support

A petition to get the Southern District Health Board to reverse its decision to provide abortion services in Southland has more than 1000 signatures.

A spokeswoman for Southlanders For Life, a group describing itself as an "anti-liberal abortion group", said it had received more than 1100 signatures and expected more.

An email was yesterday sent out by the group asking members to continue canvassing for signatures and to write a submission to the chairman of the health board.

Nearly 30 signatures had also been received from the Southland Muslim Association, the email said.

A former Southland Hospital obstetrician and now chairman of the Southlanders for Life group, Dr Norman Maclean, said at a meeting last week the group opposed a service that would provide abortion on request.

About 200 people attended the public meeting to discuss the planned abortion service at Southland Hospital but an invitation for the Southern District Health Board members to attend was not taken up.

The Southern District Health Board currently provides the service at Dunedin Hospital, but chief medical officer David Tulloch said in May that abortions would be provided closer to home as part of the expansion of clinical services at Southland Hospital.

The Southlanders For Life group said it hoped to have a delegation attend the next district health board meeting on July 5.

The Southland Times