NZ abortion rate lowest in over 25 years, with long-term contraception said to be influencing factor

Abortion rates in New Zealand are at their lowest rate in over 25 years. 

Ease of access to contraception and an increase in sex education are seen as the pivotal changes, says Family Planning. Source: 1 NEWS

Figures released today from Statistics New Zealand show in 2016 the number of abortions per 1000 women was 13.5, compared with 14.2 per 1000 women in 2015. 

In total, Statistics New Zealand said the overall number of abortions dropped by 332.

Figures highlight a continuing downward trend for younger women aged 20 to 24.

For this age group, the abortion rate hit a high of 41 abortions per 1000 women in 2003, which is 20 more than the latest figure of 21 per 1000 women in 2016.

There has also been a steady drop in the number of 15 to 19-year-old women having abortions.

Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond said having good access to long-acting and reversible contraception, such as the contraceptive implant and intrauterine device (IUD), is a large factor in why the number of abortions have declined.

She said these contraceptives are reliable and don't rely on people's actions for them to work, like condoms and the contraceptive pill do.

Family Planning is hopeful more people are getting education, as well as hoping more people are delaying their first time having sex, Ms Edmond said. 

Other countries are also showing a decrease in abortions on an annual basis, she said.

Family Planning is calling for the government to subsidise the contraceptive implant and IUD, as well as promoting an increase in comprehensive sex education in schools.