New Zealand Abortions Drop 4.8 Percent in 2008, Screening System Criticized

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 8, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Zealand Abortions Drop 4.8 Percent in 2008, Screening System Criticized

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 8
, 2009

Wellington, New Zealand ( — New figures from the Abortion Supervisory Committee in New Zealand today indicate the number of abortions dropped 4.8 percent from 2007 to 2008. The government agency indicated abortions fell from 18,832 in 2007 to 17,940 last year.

The committee also reported that the ratio of abortions per 1000 pregnancies also fell from 222 to 217, and it’s lower than the peak in 2003 of 247 per 1000 pregnancies.

The abortion rate also fell last year for women aged between 15 and 44 from 20.1 to 19.7 per 1,000 women and this measure also peaked in 2003 at 20.8.

According to NZPA, the report shows 5,396 of the women getting abortions were between 20-24 years-old, the highest age category seeing abortions, while there were 4,097 between 15 and 19.

Most abortions were done before the 12th week of pregnancy and 75 were done after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The report showed 98.7 percent of women said they got abortions for mental health reasons, even though research from New Zealand and other nations has shown abortions are worse for women’s mental health than carrying a pregnancy to term.

The data indicate just under 6 percent of the abortions done in 2008 were with the dangerous Mifegyne abortion drug that has killed at least 13 women across the world and injured more than 1,100 in the United States alone. The agency said it would be promoting the use of the abortion drug more heavily and working to establish new places where it would be available.

"We would suggest, in light of New Zealand’s high abortion rate in comparison to other countries where these methods are freely available, and have been for some time, that consideration be given to reducing financial barriers to their use," NZPA reported it saying.

Meanwhile, pro-life advocates are opposed to a proposed national screening system for unborn children with Down’s syndrome.

The government will fund the new system beginning in February for first-trimester testing and public funding for second-trimester testing was started last year.

Family Life International’s Brendan Malone told NZ Catholic the program is "very disturbing" because babies diagnosed with the condition are victims of abortions at very high rates.

"This program will simply result in babies with Down’s syndrome being targeted with abortion in an attempt to weed out these people from our society," he said.

Right to Life’s Ken Orr said the proposed national screening program is a "further manifestation of a culture of death".

"This is eugenics which proclaims that only the perfect have a right to be born," Orr said, adding that the government wants to conceal the true nature of the program by calling it "quality improvement."

Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From

Daily Pro-Life News Report Twice-Weekly Pro-Life
News Report
Receive a free daily email report from with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.