Media Release 5 May 2019
A poll has found that a strong majority (78%) believe that medical professionals with ethical objections should be lawfully allowed to opt out of performing or arranging abortions.
In the independent poll by Curia Market Research of 1,000 New Zealanders, respondents were asked “Do you think medical professionals with ethical objections should be lawfully allowed to opt out of performing or arranging abortions?”
The strongest support for freedom of conscience rights came from National and Labour party voters. Only 11% opposed freedom of conscience rights for medical professionals. Support was strong from both females and males.
Surprisingly, amongst those who generally support abortion, their support for freedom of conscience rights was stronger (84%) than amongst those who generally oppose abortion (72%).
“The Law Commission report recently presented to the Government suggested that while the current law imposes a duty on practitioners refusing to provide services to inform a woman that she can obtain the services elsewhere, they proposed a possible change to the law that would require health practitioners with conscientious objections to refer women to another health practitioner or health care provider,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“This proposal is obviously out of step with the views of the public. There should be no change to the current law which protects a health practitioner’s right to freedom of conscience. Medical professionals should be allowed to work according to their conscience and they should not be compelled to play any part in the abortion process.”
Earlier this week, President Trump announced new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses who object to procedures like abortion on moral or religious grounds.
The nationwide poll was carried out at the beginning of April and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%.