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ASC Links Housing Shortage and Abortion Rate

Today the Abortion Supervisory Committee (ASC) told the Justice Select Committee abortions increased among Aucklanders aged 25 – 35, possibly because of the rising cost of living, especially housing costs.

“Data from overseas has shown that the inability to support a child is one of the most common reasons for receiving abortion care. It makes sense that economic instability would drive abortion rates in New Zealand too,” said ALRANZ National president Terry Bellamak.

“Families want to give their child the best possible start in life, so it makes sense they would delay childbirth until they can do so, or limit their family size. That is the definition of acting responsibly, and families should be able to decide that for themselves.

“The ASC also noted that while uptake of long-acting reversible contraception has increased, funded options are ‘not the most user-friendly’. They noted the Jadelle implant was less popular because it was more difficult to remove.

“The health system should fund all contraceptive choices to provide the best possible option for the individual.”

The report shows 98% of abortion are still approved solely on the mental health ground or in combination with other grounds. The majority of people receiving abortion care are already parents at almost 60%.

In New Zealand, abortion is still in the Crimes Act.

The Minister of Justice, Andrew Little, has asked the New Zealand Law Commission to review the country’s abortion laws with the intention of treating abortion as a health matter rather than a criminal matter. During the election campaign, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to reform New Zealand’s abortion laws, making abortion care available as a matter of right.

ALRANZ wants to reform New Zealand’s laws around abortion. Under New Zealand’s abortion laws, two certifying consultants must approve every abortion under a narrow set of grounds set out in the Crimes Act. Those grounds do not include rape, nor the most common reasons cited overseas: contraception failure and the inability to support a child.

Poll results show a majority of New Zealanders support the right to access abortion on request.

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