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New Zealand Abortion Statistics
Facts and figures relating to the frequency of abortion in New Zealand.
National abortion statistics for New Zealand are available from Statistics New Zealand and the Annual Report of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, which is submitted to Parliament in order to fulfill its statutory requirement under section 39 of the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977. All the statistics are based on legally induced abortions registered in New Zealand. No information is available for illegal or spontaneous abortions. The 2007 New Zealand Stats Report and 2007 Report of the Abortion Supervisory Committee revealed the following:
ANNUAL ABORTION STATISTICS
- There were 18,380 abortions performed in New Zealand in 2007, compared with 17,930 in 2006 and the peak of 18,510 in 2003.
- The general abortion rate was 20.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years in 2007, up from 19.6 per 1,000 in 2006 and 19.3 abortions per 1,000 in 2005, but lower than the 2003 rate of 20.8 abortions per 1,000.
WHO HAS ABORTIONS?
- Women aged 20–24 years have more abortions than any other age group, accounting for approximately 3 out of 10 abortions in any year. Women in this age group also had the highest abortion rate (37 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years in 2007), significantly higher than any other age group. Beyond age 24, both the number of abortions and the abortion rate decreased with increasing age. Women aged 25–29 years had an abortion rate of 26 per 1,000 in 2007. Teenagers (15–19 years) had a slightly higher abortion rate (27 abortions per 1,000). The median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of women having an abortion has remained stable at around 25 years over the last twenty years.
- In 2007, 65 percent of abortions were a woman's first abortion, compared with 70 percent in 1997. Twelve percent of women having an abortion in 2007 had had two or more previous abortions, compared with 8 percent in 1997.
- In 2007, there were 10,550 abortions to women who identified with the European ethnic group (either as their only ethnic group or as one of their ethnic groups). There were 4,300 abortions to women who identified with the Māori ethnic group, 2,950 women identified with the Asian ethnic group, 2,290 women identified with the Pacific ethnic group and 200 women identified with the MELAA (Middle Eastern, Latin American and African) grouping. Of the 50 women in the 'Other' ethnic group, almost all identified with the New Zealander ethnic group.
WHY ARE ABORTIONS PERFORMED?
- In New Zealand the grounds on which an abortion is permitted are described in the Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion Act 1977 and in section 187A of the Crimes Act 1961.
- In any given year, 98-99 percent of abortions are performed because of serious danger to the mental health of the mother.
WHEN DO ABORTIONS OCCUR?
- Most abortions are performed during the ninth to the eleventh week of gestation. In 2007, 19 percent of abortions were performed during the ninth week of gestation, 20 percent during the tenth week, and 17 percent during the eleventh week.
HOW ARE ABORTIONS PERFORMED?
- In 2006, over 90 percent of abortions were performed by suction curettage or suction curettage with dilation and curettage.
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