2008 Abortion Providers Conference

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The 2008 Abortion Providers Conference was held in Auckland on 28-29 March. It was the fifth such conference. The conference was organised by the General Manager of Auckland Medical Aid Centre, Lesley Wood.


The following spoke at the conference:[1]

  • Steve Chadwick opened the conference. She expressed a willingness to work with the ASC to improve access and consistent

standards of care.

  • Professor Peter Stone, gave the keynote address and called for the decriminalisation of abortion.
  • Professor Allan Templeton from Aberdeen in the UK spoke on his experience and research with medical abortion.
  • Dr. Suzanne Poppema from the USA
  • Dr. Bernie Brenner, uro-gynaecologist from Auckland
  • Professor Linda Holloway, chairperson of the Abortion Supervisory Committee
  • Dr. Anna Whitehead presented the findings of an FPA audit on delays in the referral system. On average there was a delay of 10 days between first contact and referral to the provider and on average 18 days between referral to the provider and the actual abortion.
  • Dr. Jade Lodge from Northland presented data that showed in that area over 60% of women wait more than three weeks from contact with GP to actual abortion.
  • Dr. Martha Silva outlined a proposal for national research to further investigate delays within the system.
  • Ann Simmons, midwifery adviser to the ASC spoke about the arbitrary dividing line of 20 weeks gestation. Before that date, gynaecological nursing care recommends one nurse for five or six patients, whereas after 20 weeks obstetric nursing is one on one. She stated that there is a lack of recognition of the time and skills required in caring for second trimester termination patients.
  • Dr. Helen Roberts gave an update on contraception.
  • Jan Gilby a Family Planning nurse from Hamilton spoke on training nurses to insert IUCDs
  • Dr. Christine Read spoke of the changing political landscape in Australia, where each state has its

own laws.

  • Mere Wallace explained that one of the reasons that abortion is such a sensitive issue for Maori is because abortion interferes with whakapapa. The Maori term for abortion is whakatahe which means to flow from the body.
  • Marcella Turia, a counsellor from the Auckland Medical Aid Centre, spoke of her work with women from the Commonwealth Pacific Islands of Niue, Tokelau, and the Cook Islands and noted the significant increase in abortions in this group in the past year.
  • Kerry Waalkens is a Tongan social worker from Middlemore Hospital. She spoke of the veil of secrecy and the power of the church.
  • Heather Clarke from Marie Stopes International spoke of the new service they are providing in Fiji.
  • Dr. Carol Shand, Istar
  • Dr. Margaret Sparrow


The following attended the conference:[1]

Abortion Supervisory Committee Involvement

The Abortion Supervisory Committee provided $8,000 for the purpose of reimbursing actual travel and attendance costs of keynote speaker, Professor Allan Templeton from Aberdeen. Right to Life NZ wrote to both the Minister of Justice and the Committee expressing concern at the Committee's expenditure. The Committee’s defence was that the grant was justified in terms of section 14 [1] [a] of the CS & A Act. The Minister and the Committee replied that they considered that the financial assistance was justified.

Professor Templeton is the Regius Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Aberdeen. The Professor has since 2004 been the President of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. His clinical interests have been Reproductive Medicine and IVF.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 ALRANZ Newsletter, May 2008
  2. Right to Life NZ Newsletter, July 2008