In Statistics


The number of abortions performed in New Zealand decreased in 2012. A total of 14,745 induced abortions were performed in New Zealand in 2011, 1,118 fewer than in 2011.

The general abortion rate (abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) decreased from 17.3 per 1,000 in 2011 to 16.1 in 2012. This rate is the lowest since 1995, when it was also 16.1 per 1,000. The lower abortion rate indicates that the decrease in the number of abortions was due to fewer women having abortions, rather than to changes in the size or age structure of the population.

In the year ended December 2012:

  • 14,745 abortions were performed in New Zealand, the lowest number since 1995 (13,652).
  • The general abortion rate was 16.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, down from 17.3 per 1,000 in 2011.
  • Women aged 20–24 years had the highest abortion rate (29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years).
  • The median age of women having an abortion was 25 years.
  • Most abortions (62 percent) were a woman’s first abortion.
  • View a full report (pdf) here.
  • View the detailed data sets (excel) here.


Further commentary from ProLife NZ (19 June 2013)


Statistics NZ has just released the latest abortion data for New Zealand, and the news is good.

The total number of abortions in NZ in 2012 dropped to 14,745 – that’s 1,118 less abortions than in 2011.

The general abortion rate (abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years) is now at the lowest it’s been since 1995, with a decrease from 17.3 per 1,000 in 2011 to 16.1 per 1,000 in 2012.

There is still a lot of work to be done in this area, but this is definitely welcome and encouraging news, as it means that NZ’s abortion statistics are definitely in a downward trend – a trend which began 5 years ago and hasn’t slowed since.

What’s quite significant here is the fact that this five year downward trend is the longest unbroken period of abortion decreases we’ve experienced in this country since they began collecting statistics back in 1980. Prior to this, the longest period of abortion decrease was 3 years.

In the coming hours and days you will hear various reactions to these statistics, but in the meantime I think the following points are worth remembering:

1. This decrease is something to celebrate – it means that this country killed 1,118 less innocent human beings than it did in 2011.

2. Every one of these 14,745 unborn human beings killed in NZ in 2012 was an innocent human person who was denied their most fundamental human right, and had their life violently taken from them.

3. Every one of these 14,745 abortions means that almost that same number of women were exposed to the serious risk of experiencing post-abortion trauma and its related psychological harms.

4. Despite what some people will try and claim, this decrease in abortion numbers is NOT largely due to contraception or morning-after pill successes. International research across multiple studies continually shows that increased availability of the morning-after pill does NOT decrease abortion rates. Also, this downward trend began before the recent long-term contraceptive programmes were launched here, and when we look at our woefully high STi rates we can see that the promise of a successful contraceptive strategy remains just as elusive as ever.

5. These statistics pour cold water all over the recent suggestions by the Abortion Law Reform Association of NZYoung Labour, and others, that NZ urgently needs decriminalized abortion. With the lowest number of women in 17 years seeking out abortions, it’s pretty hard to take seriously any claims that the NZ law needs further liberalizing, and that it is in desperate need of decriminalization in order to meet the pressing demands of Kiwi women.


ProLife NZ Press Release (19 June 2013)


Drop in Abortion numbers a step in the right direction – ProLife NZ

ProLife NZ is welcoming the news that there has been a significant drop in the number of abortions which took place in NZ in 2012, compared with 2011. This is the fifth concurrent year that the number of abortions has dropped, however the positive trends must continue.

ProLife NZ spokesperson Mary-Anne Evers says that there are a number of factors behind this drop including a greater awareness of the development of the child in the womb, and the ongoing work of pro-life groups around New Zealand, such as ProLife NZ.

“While we are pleased with this significant drop in the number of abortions, the statistics still represent 14,475 abortions too many.” Ms Evers says.

“There is still much work to be done.”

“Our vision is for a country where no women needs to choose abortion, where every women feels supported to be able to choose life for their child.”

“What worries me is that women aged between 20 and 24 had the highest abortion rate. We as a society need to be doing all that we can to support women in this age group, by giving them a real choice when they are faced with a crisis pregnancy.”

“ProLife NZ is an organisation based on our campuses around NZ. We are committed to doing all we can to support women in this age group by promoting appropriate counselling services and organisations which will give them the support needed so they can choose to keep their child.”

“The only way women will have a real choice in New Zealand, is by giving them real options. We want to be part of that solution.”

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