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Salient. Official Newspaper of the Victoria University Students' Association. Vol 41 No. 9. April 24 1978

A Woman's rights

page 15

A Woman's rights

Under the new legislation the woman has no part in the decision of whether her request for termination is granted. It is important that women are aware of the few rights they do have and excercise these rights carefully.

This revolting act has to be shown to be unworkable and its application must be frustrated and interrupted as often as possible. We must monitor its application, any denial of our rights have to be reported in the media and to the Supervisory Committee.

We have the ridiculous situation where decisions on termination can be made by the Certified Consultants solely on the basis of a letter from a G.P. while certain C.C's have said that they will insist on seeing the woman in person. They cannot.

By women refusing to stand before these men in person to be judged, refusing to allow them to discuss their case, reporting delays in decision-making or difficulties in seeing a C.C. and difficulties in obtaining counselling, we can obstruct the law, prove the role of the C.C. to be un-workable and probably force public resignations from the post. Revival of medical anger against the government could be in our favour.

For a woman already under stress, making this political stand will not be easy. I am doubtful that it will in fact make a great deal of difference to the decision of her personal case, the Law provides all the obstacles and her act may well add to its repeal.

It is vital that we do not help the implementation of this Act in any way at all. It must be publically shown to be what it

The Woman's Rights

1)If a woman asks her G.P. for a referral to a certifying consultant, the G.P. legally has to make this referral. The G.P. does not have the right to judge the merits of the case, a referral must be made.
2)The G.P. has to provide a referral letter to the certifying consultants. The woman has the right to give or withold her permission for the G.P. to give certain information about her to the certifying consultant (C.C). Thus, all of her personal history does not have to be divulged.
3)The woman has to see the C.C. face to face only if she wants to. Otherwise, a letter is all that is required in law.
4)She can ask her G.P. to accompany her to see the C.C. if she wishes and s/he agrees.
5)The CC does not have the right to discuss her case with any other person without her permission. Women have to safeguard their privacy.
6)The woman should not have to wait more than 2 weeks for a decision regarding her termination to be made.
7)Women have a right to ask for counselling when they are considering termination and also after a decision has been made by the C.C.s.

Janice Burns