by PETER GRACE
Induced abortions in New Zealand have fallen about 24 per cent since 2003, according to the latest annual report of the Abortion Supervisory Committee.
The 2014 report, presented to Parliament in March, covers licensed abortion activities for the calendar year 2013. There were 18,511 induced abortions in 2003, compared with 14,073 in 2013 (Graph 1.1).
The report links the falling rate of induced abortion to contraception: to the introduction
of a “long acting subcutaneous implant in August 2010”. It acknowledges some women later had it removed because of side effects.
The report shows that as of June 30 last year there were 167 certifying consultants.
Fees paid to them for consultations with women considering abortion totalled $3,985,754 in
the year ended June 30, 2014. This is consistent with a trend of a decline in payments to
consultants: From $5,048,096 for 2008-2009, and falling consistently since then.
Information from three other graphs are: Graph 1.2 — Abortion Ratio: This is the number
of abortions per 1000 known pregnancies (excluding miscarriages). The rate in 2003 was 247 and has fallen gradually to 192 in 2013.
Graph 1.3 — General Abortion Rate: This is the number of abortions per 1000 of the mean estimated population of women aged 15 to 44. This has fallen from 20.8 in 2003 to 15.4 in 2013.
Graph 6.3 — Induced Abortions by Ethnicity Ratio: This is the number of induced abortions per
1000 known pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) in Asian, Pacific, Maori and European cohorts. This shows declines in all groups, but most markedly among Asian women who, in 2003, had about 75 per cent more abortions than the other groups but now are at about the same rate.
The report shows that the number of abortions in the 15 to 19 age group fell from a peak
of 4173 in 2007 to 2096 in 2013 — a 50 per cent decline.
According to the report, 9.9 per cent of abortions in 2013 were medical only, while the rest were at least partly surgical.