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Abortion statistics: Year ended December 2018

There were 13,282 abortions performed in New Zealand in 2018, similar to the year before, Stats NZ said today.

Women in their 20s were most likely to have an abortion in 2018, accounting for 52 percent of all abortions.

Abortions for women under 20 have been decreasing since the peak in 2007. In 2018, 10 percent of abortions were for women under 20, compared with 23 percent 11 years ago.

In comparison, the proportion of abortions for women 30 years and over has been increasing. In 2018, 38 percent of abortions were for women aged 30 and over, compared with 28 percent in 2007.

The age-specific abortion rates (number of abortions per 1,000 women in a particular age group) for women 30 years and over have been relatively stable compared with those for women under 30. The rates for women aged 15–19 and 20–24 years have had the largest drops over the last decade. The rate for women aged 15–19 years was 8.4 per 1,000 women in that age group in 2018. This was down from 26.7 in 2007.

In 2018, 19 percent of known pregnancies (live births, stillbirths, and induced abortions) ended in an induced abortion. This ratio has decreased since its peak in 2003 (25 percent) but has been relatively stable since 2012.

More women are having abortions earlier. In 2018, 60 percent of abortions were performed before 10 weeks of pregnancy. This compares with 46 percent in 2008, and 38 percent in 1998.

International comparisons

New Zealand’s general abortion rate was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 in 2018. It can be compared with the following latest available abortion rates:
• Scotland: 12.1 in 2017
• South Australia: 13.2 in 2016
• United States: 13.5 in 2017
• Western Australia: 15.0 in 2015
• England and Wales: 17.0 in 2017.



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