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 NZ, Young 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.