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Abortion rate decreases 'and we still need law reform'

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The continued fall in the number of abortions in New Zealand does not change the need for law reform, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand says.

Statistics New Zealand reports 12,823 induced abortions were performed in 2016, compared with 13,155 in 2015.

This represents a decrease in the abortion rate per 1000 women aged between 15 and 44 years, from 14.2 in 2015 to 13.5 in 2016.

"The abortion rate in New Zealand continues to fall, particularly for younger women," ALRANZ president Terry Bellamak says.

"But abortion is still regulated as a crime, instead of being treated like all other forms of health care.

"A majority of New Zealanders support access to legal abortion in all circumstances. Our laws must be reformed to reflect that reality.

"In the run-up to September’s General Election, ALRANZ calls on all political parties to include abortion law reform in their policy platforms."

ALRANZ would like to see abortion decriminalised and treated as a health matter between a woman and her doctor. ALRANZ believes the government should not be in the position of forcing people to continue unwanted pregnancies.

"Abortion is a health issue, not a crime. New Zealand’s archaic laws reflect a time when women were considered unfit to make decisions for themselves. Those days are gone," Ms Bellamak says.

"The current laws require women to pretend mental illness in order to get the care they need. These laws are absurd."

Facts:

12,823 abortions were performed in New Zealand, 332 (3 percent) fewer than in 2015 (13,155).

The general abortion rate was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years, down from 14.2 per 1,000 in 2015.

Women aged 20-24 years had the highest abortion rate (21 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20-24 years), down from a high of 41 in 2003.

Most abortions (64 percent) were a woman's first abortion.

57 percent of abortions were performed before the 10th week of the pregnancy.

18 percent of known pregnancies (live births, stillbirths, and abortions) ended in an abortion.

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