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Abortion, Sterilisation and Contraception

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A delicate topic .  .  . you need to know the law

The law governing reproductive rights and abortion is contained in the


Statutory Regulations
Local & Private Acts



Unless one of the other specified grounds apply  (see below),  a woman or girl is not entitled to an abortion unless two consultants certify that the pregnancy poses a serious danger to the woman or girl’s physical or mental health.   In practice,  this has proved to be NOT too difficult.

In assessing whether this serious danger exists,  the consultants can take into account :

  • whether the woman or girl is near the beginning or the end of the usual child-bearing years
  • whether there are reasonable grounds for believing that the pregnancy is the result of sexual violation

An abortion can also be authorised if two consultants certify :

  • that there is a substantial risk that the child would be seriously mentally or physically handicapped
  • that the pregnancy is a result of incest
  • that, in the case of a girl under 20, the pregnancy is the result of criminal sexual intercourse by a person who had the care and protection of the girl
  • that the woman or girl is severely subnormal

In practice, it is not too difficult to find consultants who are sympathetic to the wishes of the mother although it must be accepted that in New Zealand we do not have the so called  'Abortion on Demand".

A pregnant woman has no legal obligation to obtain the father’s consent before obtaining an abortion.   It is HER decision.

Similarly, a father has no legal right either to force a woman to have an abortion nor to prevent her from having one. 

Because of the doctor/patient confidentiality relationship a doctor is not entitled to notify the father of a woman’s pregnancy without her consent.

Parents ha

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Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access/Custody/Guardianship
"dear Netlaw,

My partner and I found all your family sites really good. We are fighting a maintenance and custody dispute with his ex and we cannot get legal aid so we are trying to go it alone and your site really helps. The judge actually commented on our documents saying that they were good. Thanks again . . . . Tuia"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access/Custody/Guardianship
"Dear Netlaw
Our father was in a semi-coma when he got married and died 3-days later. Can this form of marriage be invalidated, (in particular, annulled through not being consummated)? Your expertise will be gratefully received again, thanks.

Netlaw replies: Non consummation is no longer a ground for dissolution but, under section 31 of the Family Proceedings Act 1980, a Family Court can declared void a marriage if there was an absence of true consent at the time of the marriage. If he was in a semi coma, it would be difficult to prove full consent. That could therefore void the marriage."

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access/Custody/Guardianship
"I was accused wrongly. It is an awful process to go through. But I found the Notice of Defence document on your site and I could not find it anywhere else. I tried and tried. So good on Netlaw. The Court ordered blood tests and I had to pay half but then those blood tests excluded me and now I am asking the court to make her pay me back. I will let you know what happens This topic on paternity helped me greatly. Jon A -South Auckland"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access/Custody/Guardianship
"Thank you. My lawyer was going to charge $800 plus GST minimum for this work. Stuff him! (scuse my french) - Darls - Albany - May 2007 "
"I used this site. I thought the other company sites were also helpful, particularly the ones on suing a company as well as Directors' Liability. Tricky Law. Take care - Henk - Hamilton - April 2007"
Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access/Custody/Guardianship
"I did my own documents and got before a Judge and got my own order for protection. I reckon I did it faster then my lawyer last time I need such an order two years ago.
Thank you . . . . Sandie (not my real name)"

"Don't forget, you can do it yourself but if you are ona benefit your lawyer gets paid by legal aid. Annie Y - Auckland"
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"Helpful . . . Muriel"
"Gosh these Trust documents are so long. There should be shorter documents. but I suppose they are necessary. But good of you to include so many docments in your site. We have been helped by your wills sites too. John Mc."
"Bloody Hell! You provide us with the documentation as well! This is great stuff. I will still use a lawyer but I now have enough information to make some informed decisions myself.
Kevin M - Hamilton"

Feedback/Blogs/Reviews from related topic: Access/Custody/Guardianship
"My husband and I liked all this information. Keep it up please! Well worth the $45. We have spent so much on lawyers, blast them. I suppose they are necessary but when we see these concepts set out simply by you in Netlaw we wonder what all the secrecy and fuss was about in other matters. "
"I have heard that through the Will I am able to gift up to $27 500.00 of my property per year to some one that I want to inherit without paying gifting fees where do I find a template for this

Netlaw answers: Good morning,

You posted a blog on Netlaw this morning. We reply as follows.

Gift duty is not payable on money or assets which pass under your will. Therefore, you can leave $1,000,000 to someone in your will and it is not classified as a gift.
However, if you wanted to give someone $1 million during your lifetime then that would attract gift duty at 40 cents in the dollar (subject to a more specific calculation about a lesser amount of gift duty in some bands above $27,000) for any amount gifted over $27,000 per year. This is why gift programmes over a number of years have to be set up during the course of your lifetime to avoid or minimise paying gift duty.
But we repeat - money or assets left under a will are not treated as gifts for gift duty purposes. Nor are death duties payable any more. They were abolished well over 10 years ago.

Cheers . . . . Netlaw"

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