Slide in abortion rate continues

Slide in abortion rate continues

Abortion rates have continued to fall, particularly among younger women.

New figures released by Statistics NZ show in 2015, there were 14.2 abortions performed for every 1000 women aged between 15 and 44 , down from 14.4 the year before.

It's the lowest rate in more than 20 years, and well down from 2003, when it peaked at 20.8.

Nearly a third of all abortions are performed on women aged 20-24, but they're declining fastest, down from 41 per 1000 in 2003 to 23 per 1000 last year.

Abortions for teens are at a record low, down to 11 per 1000 -- in 2003 it was 26.

Nearly 18 percent of known pregnancies in 2015 were aborted, down slightly on 2014. This rate also peaked in 2003, at 24.7 percent.

Almost two-thirds of abortions were a woman's first.

Overall there were 13,155 abortions performed in New Zealand -- slightly up on 2014's 13,137, but down when population growth is taken into account.

New Zealand's abortion rate is similar to Denmark and Norway, and better than England, Wales and Sweden, but still twice more than Germany.

The rate was below 10 in 1000 until 1985, when it began rising sharply, peaking in 2003. It has now dropped to a level last seen in 1992.