The abortion figures for 2007 released by Statistics NZ today continue to paint a terrible picture for teenagers and families, and confirm the continued failure of the Abortion Supervisory Committee, as highlighted by the High Court case last week.
Almost 4,300 teenagers had an abortion in 2007. Each week, over 80 teenagers have an abortion, and represent almost a quarter of all abortions performed in NZ.
Since 1991, the number of 11-14 year olds having an abortion has increased by 141%. The number of abortions for 15-19 year olds has increased by 82%.
“This is a tragedy for the unborn child, and for the girls involved, some as young as 11,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director. “It is also devastating for the extended family, especially if the young girl has been sneaked off for the abortion by Family Planning or a School Counselor without the parents’ knowledge or consent.”
“It provides evidence that the myth of safe sex pushed by Family Planning, the AIDS Foundation and similar groups is miserably failing our vulnerable young people, who are being made even more vulnerable by then being encouraged to have an abortion,” says Bob McCoskrie. “This is why 83% of parents in a recent US Zogby poll believe that programs should reinforce the abstinence message.”
New Zealand has the second highest rate of teenage pregnancy among OECD countries, according to the recently released UNICEF Report on Child Maltreatment 2007. Last year, the teen fertility rate was 28.4 births per 1000 women aged between 15 and 19. Only the United States has a poorer rate.
At the same time as almost 18,000 abortions were being performed in NZ last year, adoptions totalled less than 90, according to the Adoption Option Trust.
“22% of abortions are being performed at 12 weeks or greater despite all the pictures and scans we are seeing showing the fetal development of the unborn child,” says Mr McCoskrie. “These images are obviously being kept hidden from some of the women seeking an abortion,”
Family First NZ is calling for a law which requires informed consent (including ultrasound) for all potential abortions, and counselling to be provided only by non-providers of abortion services. Parental notification of teenage pregnancy and abortion should happen automatically except in exceptional circumstances approved by the court.