Drug only abortion clinic facing wrath of Right to Life in court

An anti-abortion group wants a Tauranga Family Planning clinic shut down because it only offers drug-induced abortions.

Right to Life has taken the matter to the Wellington High Court, claiming the Abortion Supervisory Committee should not have granted the clinic the right to perform abortions in 2013.

The Bay of Plenty clinic is the first to offer drug only, rather than surgical, abortions.

It only deals with abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.

Lawyers for the committee said there are clinics which offer only surgical abortions and they could be affected by any decision.

Wendy Aldred said a clinic was only required to provide facilities that would ensure patient safety for the type of abortion they offered, not for the alternative type.

Earlier Right to Life lawyer, Peter McKenzie, told the court it was a matter of national significance and dealt with the interpretation of the abortion legislation.

He is seeking a Declaratory Judgement to resolve the legal uncertainty around the Abortion Act.

He argues the clinic's abortion license is illegal because it only runs medical abortions, while the 1977 Act doesn't provide for the issuing of licenses where only medical abortions are performed.

Up to 80 anti-abortion and pro-abortion protesters were demonstrating outside the court at midday today.

The hearing is set down for one day.