Media Release: 17 February 2011
The Family Planning Association (FPA) has avoided a potential conflict of interest by withdrawing their application for an abortion licence at their Hamilton office, says student group Prolife NZ.
“As a leading sexual health advisor, the FPA is tasked with advising vulnerable women in difficult situations,” says Sargia Harrison, Prolife NZ President. “This change would have allowed the FPA to recommend abortions, while providing them in the same office.”
The FPA applied for a licence to perform chemical abortions in 2009, administered with the abortion drug RU486, which aborts the unborn child shortly after the drug is taken.
However, they have withdrawn their application after facing strong public opposition.
“There were also other issues with the application,” says Ms. Harrison. “Several FPA leaders have financial interests in the company which imports RU486 into New Zealand – and stand to benefit financially from wider use of the drug.”
Abortionist Simon Snook, former abortionist Margaret Sparrow, and Diana Edwards, medical director at the FPA’s Christchurch branch, are all officers of Istar – the only importer of RU486 into New Zealand. In 2009, Istar received nearly $200,000 from selling the drug in New Zealand.
“If the FPA were administering RU486, then how can we be sure it would be used with the woman’s best interests at heart?” says Ms. Harrison.
“Prolife NZ is pleased that this conflict of interest will not occur,” concludes Ms Harrrison, “especially since the FPA was using Hamilton as a test case, and planned to then apply for similar licences across its 30 offices throughout New Zealand.
“We’re also stoked that the FPA recognises the importance of separating these two functions – in order to allow women to make independent and informed decisions.”