Media Release 29 October 2011
Family First NZ is welcoming a drop in abortions according to figures released by Statistics NZ today. However, there is still huge concern that more than 65 teens have an abortion each week on average, more than a third of the women have had previous abortions, and 16% of abortions are being performed in the 12th week or later despite the research on fetal development.
“Teen abortions account for just over a 1/5th of all abortions in 2010,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “This is a tragedy for the girls involved, some as young as 11. It is also devastating for the extended family, especially if the young girl has been sneaked off for the abortion by Family Planning or a School Counselor without the parents’ knowledge or consent.”
“It is incorrect to label abortion as ‘pro-choice’, because nobody chooses to be in the situation of an unwanted pregnancy and having to make such a difficult decision.”
A University of Otago study in 2008 found that women who had an abortion faced a 30% increase in the risk of developing common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Other studies have found a link between abortion and psychiatric disorders ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders.
“With 98% of abortions in NZ being performed on the basis of the mental health of the mother, it is time that the research on the post-abortion mental health outcomes was given equal weight with the pre-abortion claims. Abortion harms women – yet groups seeking to decriminalise abortion refuse to acknowledge this, seeing the right to abortion more paramount than the long-term health and welfare of the women,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Along with protecting the rights of the unborn child, we need to protect the rights of women to know the medical facts in order that they can make fully informed decisions.”
Family First NZ is calling for a law which requires informed consent (including ultrasound) for all potential abortions, and counselling to be provided only by non-providers of abortion services. Parental notification of teenage pregnancy and abortion should happen automatically except in exceptional circumstances approved by the court.