New Zealand Agency Confirms Abortions Lower, First Time Since 1998

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 9, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Agency Confirms Abortions Lower, First Time Since 1998 Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 9, 2005

Wellington, New Zealand ( — Abortions in New Zealand are on the decline, the first time the number has dropped in seven years, according to the Abortion Supervisory Committee. It confirmed numbers released over the summer showing the decline.

The latest numbers show there were 18,211 abortions in the island nation in 2004, which is 300 less than in 2003.

The new figures show a slight drop in all age categories for women between the ages of 15 and 34. The drop also occurred across most ethnic groups, with lower abortion numbers for Maori and Pacific Islanders, a slight increase among white New Zealanders and a sharp drop of abortions on Asian women.

The governmental agency showed that abortions on Asian women fell from 3,403 in 2003 to 3097 last year. That’s good news because Asian women have typically had the highest abortion rates in the country.

Pro-life groups are cautious about the drop because the last decrease, which came in 1998, was an anomaly in the trend of higher abortions over the last three decades.

The New Zealand government found 85 abortions performed on girls between the ages of 11 and 14, a decrease of 4 from the year before. Still, the number of young girls having abortions is a problem and suggest some may have been victims of sexual abuse.

In June, Statistics New Zealand revealed the number of abortions in New Zealand were lower from 2003 to 2004

The new numbers come at a time when pro-life advocates are taking a 1977 abortion law to the nation’s high court saying that it was intended to provide abortion guidelines but has, instead, been used to promote unlimited abortions for any reason.

Right To Life New Zealand filed suit against the Abortion Supervisory Committee saying the agency has misinterpreted the law.

The measure was approved "with the objectives of stopping abortion on demand and to provide effective legal protection for unborn children," the group said in a statement.

However, the pro-life group said that nation governments since 1978 have failed to correctly apply the act.

The group, which also sued the country’s attorney general, said 98 percent of abortions have been approved for mental health reasons, even though studies show abortion has a negative impact on a woman’s physical and emotional health.

Last month, a study there found half of women who had abortions were victims of some kind of abuse.