One in five New Zealand pregnancies end in abortion

Stats NZ has released its official data around terminations in 2018, showing there were 13,282 abortions performed last year - roughly the same as the year before.

The statistics reveal that 19 percent (or one in five) of all known pregnancies in New Zealand end in an induced abortion. Fifteen years earlier 25 percent of pregnancies were terminated, but since 2012 the ratio has remained fairly stable.

More Kiwi women are having abortions earlier in their pregnancies. In 2018 60 percent of all terminations were performed before 10 weeks gestation. Ten years before that only 46 percent were performed before 10 weeks, and in 1998 just 38 percent were performed before 10 weeks.

The teenage abortion rate has halved since its peak in 2007: 10 percent of terminations in 2018 were for women under 20, down from 23 percent 11 years earlier.

Women in their 20s are the most likely to have an abortion, accounting for 52 percent of all procedures in 2018. Meanwhile women over 30 made up 38 percent of last year's terminations, an increase of 10 percent since 2007.

New Zealand's abortion rate in 2018 was 13.5 terminations per 1000 women aged between 15 and 44.

It's similar to that of South Australia, where the rate was 13.2 in 2016. Western Australia's rate is 15.0.

The rate in the US, where reproductive rights are being rolled back under the ultra-conservative Trump administration, is 13.5.

Over in the UK, England and Wales have the same rate of 17.0, while Scotland's rate is 12.1.

Statistics NZ did not provide the rate of Ireland, which last year voted to repeal its harsh abortion laws that effectively banned the procedure except for in exceptional circumstances.