In 2016, there were 12,823 induced abortions in New Zealand – 332 (3%) fewer than in 2015 (13,155).

Voice for Life president and media spokeswoman Jacqui deRuiter says the decline in abortions is welcome, but the reality is that 12,823 Kiwi babies tragically had their lives cut short. Their human rights to live and enjoy a future were denied.


Nobody really knows why the number of abortions registered every year is decreasing. We can speculate that it is due to a greater awareness of what babies look like in the womb.

Ultrasound pictures are now very common and pregnant women show them to their friends, work colleagues and family members. Such pictures may have some influence on choosing whether to have an abortion or continue the pregnancy.

How the statistics are gathered

New Zealand law requires reliable abortion statistics collected and published annually. In Australia, it is left to the state governments to record the number of abortions performed and only South Australia keeps accurate records. This state of affairs makes it difficult for social scientists, researchers and statisticians to gauge the annual numbers, but they are thought to be around 70,000 per annum.

When the first abortion clinic opened in Auckland in April 1974, accurate records were kept and with the passing of the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act (1977) every abortion had to be performed at a licenced clinic or hospital and the records sent to the Abortion Supervisory Committee who share them with Government statistics.

From April 1974 up to the 31st December 2012, the records show 466,688 abortions being performed. We reached 500,000 abortions in early 2016. Those babies killed in 1974 would now be over 40 years old had they been allowed to live.

An epitaph for the 500,000 babies

Each one was a unique, individual human person, growing in the womb towards their future – which was not to be. They were denied their future and as is the normal practice, their remains were labelled “medical waste”, collected by a waste collection contractor and incinerated.

The Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once said that the one person’s death is a “tragedy”, the deaths of thousands “mere statistics”.

If you are 40, and under, spare a thought for those vulnerable little ones, the victims of “choice”. You were lucky that you dodged the abortion bullet.

They didn’t have to die. There were and are thousands of couples around New Zealand who because of fertility issues are unable to have children. They would love to adopt those babies through Open Adoption.

Each abortion is a terrible tragedy and so we work towards a better more humane solution that doesn’t involve violence and killing.

Key Facts
In the year ending December 2016:
  • 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.

Source: Statistics New Zealand

The ASC is the body whose role it is to oversee the Contraception, Sterilisation and Abortion Act.  The ASC is described in full in the Legislation, which can be found here.