Abortions in New Zealand Continue to Skyrocket, Pro-Lifers Concerned

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 16, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Abortions in New Zealand Continue to Skyrocket, Pro-Lifers Concerned

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
June 16, 2004

Auckland, New Zealand (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life leaders say abortion in New Zealand has reached crisis proportions. Statistics New Zealand has released figures showing that 18,510 abortions
were performed in New Zealand in 2003, a 6.5 percent increase over 2002 totals.

The increase represents the death of some 1130 unborn babies, an alarming figure, according to the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child. The pro-life group notes that an increase in contraception use and the emergence of the "morning-after" pill have failed to curb the number of abortions in the country.

For every 2.9 live births, one child is aborted in New Zealand.

New Zealand women have proportionately three times more abortions than Germany and the Netherlands, twice as many as Finland and Scotland, and higher rates than France, Denmark, Norway, England, Wales, and Sweden as well.

Yet, Statistics New Zealand cautioned, "International comparisons are affected by both statistical coverage and laws relating to induced abortion. Consequently, differences between New Zealand and other countries’ abortion rates should be interpreted with care."

Many abortions in New Zealand occur among women age 20 to 24, with three out of every 10 abortions being performed on such women.

The median age for abortion in New Zealand is 25. The figure has remained fairly stable for the past decade.

In 2003, 89 girls age 11 to 14 had abortions in New Zealand, raising the question of sexual abuse of minors.

Pro-life advocates are pushing for a new law that will require the parents of a teenager to be notified before she has an abortion, allowing them to help their daughter.

According to a recent AC Nielsen poll, parental notification in the case of abortions for underage girls is a key issue for 75 percent of New Zealanders.

Those surveyed were asked, "For a female under the age of 16 years considering abortion, do you agree or disagree that her parent or guardian must be notified before any decision to proceed is made?" About three out of every four respondents agreed or strongly agreed those parents should be informed.

Josephine Reeves, President of the New Zealand Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, stated, "Our Society believes that children must be supported throughout such a difficult time (during pregnancy) by those who care for and love them most–their parents."

The general abortion rate is now 21 per 1000 New Zealand women age 15 to 44. Thirty-eight women age 45 and older had abortions in the country last year.

One in three abortions were performed on women who had already had one abortion. One in ten of the women who had an abortion last year had previously had two or more abortions.

Meanwhile, the Family Planning Association conceded the abortion statistics were disappointing. The FPA called for a national strategy to address the issue.

FPA medical adviser Dr. Christine Roke said the strategy should address the health, education, and housing needs of young people.

Abortion rates in New Zealand have increased for all age categories over the past decade, ranging from an increase of 70 percent in the 20-24 age category to a 40 percent increase for 35- to 39-year-olds.

Related web sites:
New Zealand Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child – https://www.spuc.org.nz