Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
17 June 2016
ABORTION RATE FALLS, BUT LAW STILL NEEDS REFORM
The continued fall in the rate of abortions in New Zealand should not detract from the need for modernisation of our outdated laws, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand says.
Statistics New Zealand reports 13,155 induced abortions were performed in 2015, compared with 13,137 in 2014.
This represents a slight decrease in the abortion rate per 1000 women aged between 15 and 44 years, from 14.4 in 2014 to 14.2 in 2015.
“The abortion rate in New Zealand continues to fall, particularly for younger women which have fallen dramatically since 2013,” ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak says.
“However, abortion remains a crime, and we urge politicians on all sides of the house not to be complacent.
“Access to safe, legal abortion remains an issue in many parts of New Zealand, and there are repeated attempts to limit women’s rights over their own bodies.”
2015 has seen developments like Medsafe considering loosening restrictions on the sale of oral contraceptives without a prescription.
ALRANZ would like to see unlimited pharmacy sales, since the Abortion Supervisory Committee 2015 report showed that 54 percent of the women who had abortions in 2014 were not using any form of contraception.
A telemedicine service launched this year in Australia has given women access to abortion drugs over the phone – but this cannot be replicated here due to New Zealand’s outdated laws.
“Abortion is a health issue, not a crime – and our ancient laws represent a bygone era, where many women were forced to continue pregnancies against their will,” Ms Bellamak says.
“New Zealand’s abortion rates are falling year on year, and a law change would ensure New Zealand’s laws reflect reality.”
– 13,155 abortions were performed in New Zealand, compared to 13.137 in 2014
– The general abortion rate fell to 14.2 abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44, compared with 14.4 in 2014
– Statistics New Zealand says “the size and/or age structure of the population drove the small increase in the number of abortions, rather than a greater proportion of women having abortions”
– Women aged 20-24 years had the highest abortion rate (23.1 per 1000 women aged 20-24 years) but this has fallen since 2014 (25.2 abortions per 1000)
– Most abortions (63%) were a woman’s first
– 55 per cent of abortions were performed before the 10th week of pregnancy
For more information, contact:
Terry Bellamak, ALRANZ National President
Jessica Williams, National Executive Member
ALRANZ phone.: 021-082-76474
ALRANZ (Abortion Law Reform Assoc NZ)
Abortion Statistics released today are available from Statistics New Zealand.