Isaac Davison

Isaac Davison is a NZ Herald political reporter.

Pro-life lobby pressures National over doctor

Anti abortion protestors outside a medical clinic in Dominion Road, Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring
Anti abortion protestors outside a medical clinic in Dominion Road, Auckland. Photo / Doug Sherring

A fiercely anti-abortion lobby group is putting pressure on the National Party not to select an experienced doctor whose job has involved authorising and performing abortions.

Right to Life said the potential selection of medical practitioner Rosemary Fenwicke as a candidate in Wellington Central "would have serious consequences for the National Party at the forthcoming election".

Dr Fenwicke has been a member of the Family Planning Association and has worked as a certified consultant and operating surgeon.

She refused to confirm whether she was seeking the nomination for the Wellington Central seat and said Right to Life's comments were "very premature".

National's electorate chair Richard Westlake said nominations for the position were not yet closed and he could not comment.

But Dr Fenwicke's Facebook profile said she had been a member of the Wellington Central Electorate Committee of the National Party for more than a year and she was seeking selection "to be the next candidate in Wellington Central for National in 2014".

Right to Life spokesman Ken Orr said: "The National Party would be most unwise to nominate Dr Fenwicke for the Wellington Central electorate or any other electorate, or even for a place on the National Party list.

"Those in our community who defend a culture of life would be deeply concerned should Dr Fenwicke be nominated as a candidate for Parliament."

He claimed that she supported abortions at any time during pregnancy "for any reason, or for no reason".

Dr Fenwicke has previously been the target of conservative MPs who unsuccessfully tried to prevent her from being elected to the Abortion Supervisory Committee in 2007.

Independent MP Gordon Copeland argued at the time that her appointment was a conflict of interest because in her roles as a consultant and surgeon she had power to both authorise and perform abortions.

The committee's latest report in December showed abortion rates were at their lowest in 20 years.

The Wellington Central seat has been held by Labour since 1999. Labour MP Grant Robertson won it in 2011 with a 6376-vote majority over National's candidate Paul Foster-Bell.

Mr Foster-Bell - who entered Parliament on the list in April - is seeking the nomination to represent National in Wellington Central again.

- NZ Herald

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