Soaring house prices and low wages could be contributing to a surge in Auckland women choosing to have an abortion, according to a new report.
Abortion Supervisory Committee chair Dame Linda Holloway told the Justice Select Committee abortions for Aucklanders aged between 25 and 34 are up, probably because of the rising cost of living thanks to housing costs.
In 2015 there were 2156 abortions in the city for that age group, rising to 2204 in 2016 and 2379 last year, reports NZME. Other regions didn't show the same increase. The surge in the Millennial age group resulted in the first rise in abortion numbers Auckland-wide in 12 years.
"It's wrong to speculate, but I suspect that housing, or lack of it, is one factor that impinges on the health of women in the reproductive age group," said Dame Linda.
Abortion Rights Aotearoa national president Terry Bellamak says international data supports this.
"Financial instability, and the inability to support another child is one of the most common reasons people seek abortions overseas," she told Newshub.
"It's concerning that people are having problems finding affordable housing. People are not able to support themselves on the wages and salaries that are available."
She says families may delay children because they know they can't afford to raise one yet.
"People decide that they can't raise a child right now because they don't have the financial resources, and sometimes because they don't have the emotional resources."
The median Auckland house sale price has doubled in the last 10 years, according to REINZ data.
Ms Bellamak said it "makes sense" for young people to decide against following through with having a child.
"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."
Abortion rates across the board have been trending downwards for several years. Dame Linda said she wasn't too concerned about the millennial spike, saying rates were still about as low as they could go.
Justice Minister Andrew Little is currently looking at abortion law reform, to take it out of the Crimes Act.