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An anti-abortion group is welcoming figures showing New Zealand’s abortion rate at its lowest since 1994.

Official figures released today put the number of abortions carried out in 2013 at 14,073 – 672 fewer than a year earlier.

The rate of abortions per 1000 women aged 15-44 fell to 15.4, which Statistics New Zealand says is the lowest level since it was 15.3 per 1000 women in 1994.

ProLife NZ spokeswoman Mary-Anne Evers says the decline is good news, “though the statistics still represent 14,073 abortions too many”.

Ms Evers says it shows more New Zealand women are choosing to continue their pregnancies.

“We know most New Zealanders will agree that this is a positive step,” she said.

Ms Evers said abortion statistics were important to keep and said the Greens’ policy to decriminalise abortion could make record-keeping difficult, citing Canada as an example.

“Recent proposals by the Greens to introduce effectively abortion-on-demand would be a backward step.”

She also said the Greens’ plan to expand the reasons for which abortion is permissible to include “severe foetal abnormality” was widely interpreted in law to include disabilities such as Down syndrome and spina bifida.

“So the policy clearly provides for disability-selective abortions up to birth and provides a lower level of legal protection before birth based on disability – which is against the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”


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