Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Abortion stats out today - UPDATED

The raw statistics will be released today for abortions in the year to December 2011.  The full commentary and data doesn't come out until the Abortion Supervisory Committee report towards the end of this year.

The bits I'll be watching for are the abortions by duration of pregnancy (anecdotal evidence lately suggests there are real problems getting early abortions at some services), and by previous live births (I think it's always helpful to bust the stereotype that those having abortions are never parents already).

Will hopefully update when they come out, although if it's after 2pm I probably won't be able to until tonight.


Here's the info on the Statistics website.  The headline points, from the Stats NZ release are below:

In the year ended December 2011:

  • 15,863 abortions were performed in New Zealand, the lowest number since 1999 (15,501).
  • The general abortion rate was 17.3 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, down from 18.1 per 1,000 in 2010.
  • Women aged 20–24 years had the highest abortion rate (33 abortions per 1,000 women aged 20–24 years).
  • The median age of women having an abortion was 25 years.
  • Most abortions (62 percent) were a woman's first abortion.
  • 55 percent of abortions were performed before the 10th week of the pregnancy.

Please consider this an open thread for discussion of the stats and the general state of access to abortion in Aotearoa New Zealand.

This is NOT a thread for discussing the morality of abortion, which you can do over here.


Lily Armstrong said...

Another "auspicious" day, I suppose. Whoop de doo.

Julie said...

How so?

Lily Armstrong said...

This just made me recall the previous year's stats, which were called "auspicious" by Dr Healey...it seemed a really strange word to use :-/

Julie said...

Okay. This seems like a really strange comment to make.

To be honest when it comes to these stats I don't know if it would be good or bad for them to be going up or down, because we don't know WHY.

If they are going down because more people feel scared to seek terminations, or because they simply can't access them, then that's bad.

If they are going down because people are having more success with contraception, or having more control over their fertility and bodies generally, then that's good.

Hugh said...

An excellent point Julie. Sadly it would be hard to think of a way to collect the information that would tell us that without it being intrusive.

Anonymous said...

It might be more useful if they measured abortions against the number of pregnancies that culminate in birth. Then you might be able to exclude factors like big life changes in past year which may affect sex life/reproduction (i.e. recession, chch quake, etc)


Captiver said...

@me. Well, they do measure the proportion of known pregnancies ending in an abortion, which is the abortion ratio. This: "In 2011, the abortion ratio was 204 abortions per 1,000 known pregnancies. The 2011 ratio is the lowest recorded since 1995 (191 per 1,000), but is similar to 2010 (205 per 1,000). Known pregnancies include live births, stillbirths, and induced abortions combined." I'd recommend taking a look at all the data on the Stats site. There's a lot there, and some useful commentary on it from Stats.