“The lower abortion statistics for 2011 is good news for mothers and their unborn children,” said Ken Orr, a spokesman for Right to Life New Zealand.
However, Orr noted, “The government continues to promote the killing of unborn children as a ‘core health service’, that has unlimited funding and no waiting list. It is not a health service and it has no place in our public health system.”
The total number of abortions reported in 2011 was 15,863, 767 less than in 2010 and the lowest total since 15,501 abortions were reported in 1999.
The abortion rate decreased from 18.1 per 1000 women of child-bearing age in 2010 to 17.3 in 2011. This is the lowest rate since 1995, when the rate was 16.1 per 1,000.
Women aged 20–24 years had more abortions than any other age group, accounting for approximately three out of 10 abortions in any year. Women in this age group also have the highest abortion rate - 33 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years in 2011.
The number of repeat abortions totaled 38 percent, with about 25 percent of the women having an abortion in 2011 reporting having had one previous abortion, and 13 percent reporting two or more.
“Right to Life considers that this statistic is conservative, as studies done in the United States reveals that 50 per cent of abortions are repeat abortions,” observed Orr. “There were 6,042 women who were having a repeat abortion. Why is this? How many women are using abortion as a form of contraception?”
Although teen abortion rates also fell in 2011, with the 15–19 year age group down 15 percent compared with 2010, according to Kiwi Families New Zealand has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the developed world, with about 50 teenage girls in every 1,000 getting pregnant. This pregnancy rate puts New Zealand at a similar level to that of the UK.
The group’s website says that of these pregnancies, about half result in abortion.
“Women who are faced with an unplanned pregnancy deserve compassion and practical assistance to bring their child to birth. The killing of the child is not the solution to this important social issue,” Right to Life New Zealand said, adding, “It is intolerable that the government should require that the taxpayer has the blood of innocent children on their hands.”
“Right to Life New Zealand commends those brave and courageous women who when faced with an unplanned pregnancy chose life for their child,” Ken Orr concluded. “These are truly heroic women who deserve our admiration and support. Right to Life longs for the day when women are treated with the respect that they deserve and when we stop seeing the killing of their unborn children as a ‘health service.’”
The Statistics New Zealand abortion figures for 2011 are available here.