Critics condemn Tauranga abortion service


Pro-life supporters outraged at the arrival of Tauranga's first abortion service are calling on people to protest against what they have labelled a "killing centre".

Family Planning New Zealand has been granted a licence by the Abortion Supervisory Committee to meet demand for a local service.

Until now, local women seeking abortion services had to travel to Thames or Hamilton.

The free service, which will be available to women who are up to nine weeks pregnant, will be provided by Tauranga Family Planning clinic in 10th Ave.

The service is funded by the Bay of Plenty District Health Board.

Family Planning New Zealand chief executive Jackie Edmond said she expected opposition but it was important to offer women a local service.

Tauranga was one of the only cities in New Zealand where women had to travel to another centre for help, she said.

"We felt we could offer it locally."

The procedure consisted of a medication regime involving taking a series of pills over a period of time.

"It has proven to be very safe around the world.

"What we are using is what is in line with many other providers in New Zealand."

Women seeking surgical abortions would still need to travel.

"This will be a choice. They can choose to come to us or go to a surgery out of town."

Ms Edmond said the system of providing abortions was strictly monitored and "quite a process".

Women were required to visit their local GP first before making the decision.

Women were then referred to a provider and seen by another doctor, who carried out a physical examination before any medication was taken.

Counselling was also involved throughout the process, Ms Edmond said.

Right To Life New Zealand spokesman Ken Orr said residents needed to "rise up and make it known that [Family Planning] is not welcome in their community".

Mr Orr labelled the clinic a "killing centre".

Abortion inflicted violence on vulnerable women and killed "innocent and defenceless unborn children", he said.

"A lot of women are coerced. They don't want an abortion. They do it because their partner abandons them, or threatens to."

A prayer protest was being organised to take place outside the clinic, he said.

Pro-life supporter Don Brebner said Tauranga was highly Christian-based and there was a lot of faith-based opposition to abortion, "but it is more than that".

The Voice for Life Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust chairman said there were atheists in the group opposed to abortions on a humanity level.

"You can't take a life of one of them for whatever reason. There is a human being being killed through the abortion process," Mr Brebner said.

Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand executive member Alison McCulloch could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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- Bay of Plenty Times

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