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Abortion debate welcomed.

I am replying to the letters published in response to my article in the February issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand about abortion ("Taking the judgement out of abortion, p26-27). I thank the correspondents and am glad some debate is now taking place.

I would like to refer readers to two websites regarding abortion services in New Zealand: and moh.nsf.

Letter writer Kate O'Bryne's concern about the adoption option not being discussed (May, p3) shows she does not understand the principles of pregnancy counselling, which explore all options for women who find themselves unintentionally pregnant.

Adoption is not a popular option in New Zealand, despite law changes making it a more open process than in the past. This applies to women who continue their pregnancy as well as to those who terminate. The reasons for this are complex and beyond the scope of this letter. O'Bryne and others who are concerned about the quality of counselling services will find that the Abortion Supervisory Committee has set standards of practice. Where that very high standard of practice is sometimes not met, is at independent services not under the committee's licensing auspice.

Head of the University of Auckland's Department of Obsetrics and Gynaecology, Peter Stone, has written a very clear article about pregnancy termination in New Zealand. (1) His last sentence sums up the way many people working in abortion care feel: "The health care professionals working in this area have little desire to be seen as the gatekeepers because this is seen by such people as a health care issue rather than a legal or criminal one."

Last month's issue of Kai Tiaki Nursing New Zealand focused on nurses facing moral and ethical problems in their everyday working life. I see the job that I do, not in terms of a moral or ethical dilemma, but simply as a reflection of that very thing that editorial writer Martin Woods identifies as the "givens" of nursing ("The moral purpose of nursing--everyday ethics in action", p2). I do work around the notion of "doing good for others in whatever ways are necessary for their own welfare and/or the greater good of humanity". Thank you, Martin, for your editorial. Like you, I am still confident there are nurses who remain morally committed to the welfare of the patients in their care.

Ann Simmons, RN, RM, Wellington


(1) Stone, P. (2005) Termination of pregnancy in New Zealand: A woman-focused service. Obstetrics and Gynaecology; 7: 1.
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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Simmons, Ann
Publication:Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand
Geographic Code:8NEWZ
Date:Jun 1, 2005
Previous Article:ENs' work in infection control praised.
Next Article:Relationships with patients were once ok.

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