Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.

...As Practised In NZ

...As Practised In NZ

The grounds for therapeutic abortion in New Zealand are many and varied. In a paper "Therapeutic Abortion in Dunedin Hospital" published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, Dr. P. C. Stichbury sets out some of them.

It is generally accepted that no pregnancy is terminated without the consent of both the woman and her husband, and two consultants in the appropriate specialties. The operation must be performed openly in a hospital and no fees may be charged.

If a doctor follows these rules, he is probably safe from any legal consequences, though the responsiblity is his alone. It does not rest with the specialists he consults.

Forty-four per cent of all abortions at Dunedin were performed because of psychiatric conditions.

Potential suicide is often mentioned. Stichbury doubts the importance of this. He records that the suicide rate among pregnant women is much lower than among other groups. One tenth is the proportion he quotes.

He also reports the experiences of Lindberg in Sweden who found that 62 women said they would commit suicide if they were not aborted. None was, and there were no suicides.

Sometimes the psychiatric condition can be created. For example, a familiar circumstance occurs when a G.P. decides that one of his patients should be aborted. He sends her to a consulting physician who agrees with him, and then to a gynaecologist, who declines. So she goes to another physician who agrees with the original prognosis. By this time she is well on the way to becoming a case for abortion on psychiatric grounds.