Teen abortions decline dramatically in New Zealand
June 21, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - The number of known teenage pregnancies in New Zealand has declined significantly in the last eight years, according to birth and abortion statistics for 15 to 19 year-olds. A variety of theories are being put forward as to why this is the case.
Statistics New Zealand released the data for reported induced abortions in 2015 on Friday.
While women aged between 25 and 39 had more abortions than in recent years, youth aged between 15 and 19 had, for the eighth consecutive year, less. Since 2007, teen abortions have decreased from 4,173 to 1,635 - a significant decline of 60%.
Interestingly, the number of births in this age group is also declining. New Zealand has the second highest teenage birth rate in the developed world, second only to the United States.
When figures were released for 2015 earlier this year, it was noted that the same age group had 2,841 births, down considerably from the 5,185 in 2008.
There are many theories as to why the welcome decline in both births and abortions is occurring. Research by the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (Families Commission) in 2015 suggested that the decline in teen births was directly impacted by increased contraception use and a delay in becoming sexually active.
Both suggestions are difficult to verify conclusively as relevant information regarding contraceptive use by women in New Zealand is out of date and reliable statistics are not kept; sexual activity is reliant on disclosure by youth.
However, in recent years there has been a significant push for women, especially young women, to use so-called Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs), such as the Jadelle implant and IUDs.
Family Planning, an affiliate of IPPF, reports in their Annual Report for 2014/2015 that “younger women are increasingly choosing these highly effective methods with close to 27 per cent of LARC appointments for women under 22.”
Dame Colleen Bayer, the Founding Director of Family Life International NZ points out that if younger women are being fitted with these abortifacients, and if this is in fact having an impact on teen pregnancies, then it is a false picture of the situation.
“Implants such as Jadelle, as well as IUDs, act as abortifacients, meaning conceptions are more than likely still taking place” she noted. “We are not getting the full picture of what is going on, girls may still be getting pregnant, lives are still being lost. They are just hidden from view.”
Use of abortifacients and contraceptives are not a guarantee that pregnancy will not occur. Of all the women who had an abortion in 2015, 43% were using some form of contraception at the time of conception.
Bayer is also concerned that young people are getting the message in the media and at school that sexting and sexual experimentation, especially between people of the same gender, is normal behaviour which she says may also have an impact on teen pregnancies.
“Gender ideology has infiltrated society at an alarming rate. Apparently our gender is fluid, we can choose who we want to be from one day to the next. This is the message they are getting and it would seem at least some are sadly taking the bait.”
Dame Bayer concluded with an exhortation that in order to lead young people to true freedom there is much more to do than reducing the number of pregnancies and abortions.
“The declining pregnancies and abortions among teens is welcome news, but let’s do more to ensure our youth understand what a great gift their sexuality is, the responsibilities that come with it and how to be true and good friends to one another.”