The latest abortion statistics for the year 2018 were released on 18th June by Statistics New Zealand. In this brief report, Bernard Moran of Voice for Life explores those statistics in more detail and puts a human face to the reality they represent.
There were 13,282 abortions compared with 13,285 in 2017.
Each legal abortion in New Zealand is recorded with the mother’s details for statistical purposes. Thus, trends can be identified as we shall see in this report.
There was speculation in some news outlets that the number of abortions in 2018 would be higher than in previous years. This was attributed mainly to the housing crisis, particularly in Auckland.
Factors such as record high rents, the need for two incomes to save for a deposit and pay off mortgages. An unexpected pregnancy could disrupt plans to buy a house or pay the rent.
As the figures reveal, the slow downward trend from the mid-2000s continues for the time being.
Teenage abortions
10% of the abortions were for women under 20, down from 23% in 2007.
Pregnancies ending in abortion
One in five (19%) pregnancies were terminated, down from one in four (25%) in 2003.
Women in their 20s
Consistently the largest cohort (52%) to have induced abortions.
Women 30 years and over
38% of abortions in 2018, compared with 28% in 2007.
An increase in early abortions
60% of women had their abortion before 10 weeks gestation, compared with 26.7 in 2007.
The number of previous abortions
1,071 women had a second abortion
393 had their third.
146 had their fourth.
60 had their fifth.
22 had their sixth.
12 had their seventh abortion or more (the number of “more” abortions are no longer published).
First abortion
64% of the 2018 abortions were performed on women having their first abortion.
Additional information not contained in the initial Statistics NZ release
  • 28 abortions were recorded as being performed exclusively because there was a medical threat to the mother’s life.
  • 12 abortions were authorised where sexual violation was involved.
What will happen to the recording of abortions in 2019?
The present system will continue up to the end of December 2019. At present, the Cabinet of the Coalition Government is considering an abortion reform Bill and the speculation is that abortion will be removed from the Crimes Act and abortion allowed for any reason up to 20 weeks.
Each one of the 2018 abortions was a small, vulnerable human boy or girl, with a personality and a future that was taken from them. As the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin once observed: “The death of a single person is a tragedy, the deaths of thousands are mere statistics.”