Monday, October 08, 2007

Pro-life challenge in New Zealand

Right to Life in New Zealand is challenging the abortion laws in that country, claiming the committee that oversees abortions isn't doing enough to protect the rights of unborn children.

RTL is also challenging the Common Law notion that a baby only has rights once he is "born alive".

In the High Court in Wellington this month, Justice Simon France rejected the [abortion] committee's bid to rule out expert medical evidence, produced by Right to Life, about the viability of foetuses being removed for medical treatment and returned to the womb.

The judge said Right to Life's claim included questioning the definition of when the law deemed someone to be alive and thus had human rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights.

New Zealand adheres to the common law "born alive" principle, where a child has no rights until it is born alive.

"Right to Life sees the `born alive' rule to be a potential impediment to its case and wants to be in a position to contest that rule if either committee or the court see it as relevant," he said.

"The recent text, Medical Law in New Zealand, notes that generally New Zealand adheres to the born alive rule, although there have been inroads. It suggests there is scope for future challenges to its continuing relevance."

The two statements at the heart of the latest court hearing were from paediatricians about the state of medical science, which Right to Life claims makes the born alive rule an invalid and historical concept.

"One of the arguments it would wish to make in support is the current state of foetal diagnosis and surgery whereby it is now possible to partially remove the foetus from the uterus so as to operate and then return the foetus back.

"The argument is that birth is not a sensible criteria," the judge said.

I wonder how that court case will turn. It would be very revolutionary if the court made any admission that birth is not a sensible criteria.

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