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Abortion a common procedure - statistics show

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Media Release

Abortion statistics released today are a reminder of just how common a procedure this is for New Zealand women.

 “One in four New Zealand women will have an abortion across her lifetime,” Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond says.

“While it’s important to understand and track the numbers, we should also be focussed on ensuring that we have a system where women can get the services they need, as early as possible in their pregnancy – following best clinical practice.”

Ms Edmond says New Zealand’s current laws, including the requirement to speak to multiple doctors, put up significant barriers to accessing services and result in delays and inequity.

The impact of our outdated abortion system on both early access to abortion and access to medication abortion was highlighted in recent research from the Guttmacher Institute looking at abortion method and gestational age in high income countries.

Compared to other countries, the research shows abortions are performed later during a pregnancy in New Zealand. For example, only 43% of abortions are performed before 9 weeks in New Zealand compared to 84% in Sweden and 83% in Iceland.

The report finds that in the majority of countries, medication abortion accounts for at least half of all abortions, with the highest proportions found in the Nordic countries of Finland (97%), Sweden (93%) and Norway (88%). In New Zealand, medication abortions account for only about 21% of all abortions.

Read more on the Statistics New Zealand website. 


Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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