New Zealand Abortion Rate Continues to Drop, Down 5 Percent Since 2003

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 10, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Abortion Rate Continues to Drop, Down 5 Percent Since 2003 Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 10
, 2006

Wellington, New Zealand ( — The abortion rate in New Zealand continues to decline and abortions there have gone down 5 percent from 2003 to 2005. The number of abortions fell last year for only the second time since the nation began keeping statistics in 1980.

The Abortion Supervisory Committee released its annual report to the nation’s parliament today and indicated that abortions were down in 2005 to 17,531 compared with 18,211 in 2004.

The 2004 number was down from the 2003 high of 18,511 abortions.

The agency said it was pleased abortions were down but said it didn’t know why the number had decreased. It also said it did not expect the number of abortions to continue to go down.

In its report, the Abortion Supervisory Committee gave a few examples of what might have caused the number of abortions to decline.

"Options range from the reduction in the numbers of overseas students, to the effects of school sex education programs, to the increased availability of emergency contraception," it said, according to a New Zealand Press Association media report.

"Notification data indicates that the decrease is across all age ranges and main centers, although regional differences remain," it added.

When the agency began keeping statistics, it showed 5,945 abortions in 1980 and the 2003 figure was the highest since then.

Women between the ages of 20 and 24 had the highest rates of abortions followed by those aged 25-29 and then 15-19 year-olds.

NZPA reported that the new figures show the abortion rate at 19.7 per 1,000 women, which is identical to the Australia abortion rate. Comparatively, England has a 16.9 per 1,000 abortion rate and it is 14.7 in Canada.

The abortion rate in the United States is the highest among industrialized English-speaking nations at more than 20 per 1,000 women.