Committee Report Misleads Public on Secret Teen Abortions

Media Release 8 July 2016
Family First NZ has produced evidence that the Justice and Electoral Select Committee considering parental notification laws have either misled the public or have been given the wrong advice on the rates of secret teen abortions.

The Select Committee report said that “only about 60 abortion procedures per year are performed on young people under 16 years old, and of those, less than ten exercise their legal right not to tell their parents or caregivers about the pregnancy or abortion.”

“This is completely false. In fact, statistics obtained from the Abortion Supervisory Committee by Family First NZ under the Official Information Act show that in the past 10 years (2005-2014), 2,778 induced abortions were performed on girls under the age of 16 – an average of almost 280 per year. That is almost 5-times the number that the Committee has suggested of 60. That is a huge number of families negatively impacted by this law,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“The committee is also completely wrong to say that only 10 girls per year fail to tell their parents. This data is simply not collected. An additional OIA reveals that statements made by ASC Chairperson, Dame Linda Holloway, to the Select Committee have no objective or verifiable standing and are based purely on anecdotal evidence.”

“In fact, Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond in an interview with Paul Henry last year cited a study that suggested that around 25% of schoolgirls who have had an abortion in New Zealand don’t tell their parents they have had one. Based on this, that means that at least 700 girls under 16 years old haven’t told their parents about their abortion in the past 10 years,” says Mr McCoskrie.

Family First is calling for an official inquiry in to the process of the Select Committee, the advice received by the committee, and their decision to exclude parent advocacy groups and other parents affected by the law from being able to make oral submissions.

ENDS