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Abortion Figures Show ASC Must Act

MEDIA RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand
17 June 2010

Abortion figures just issued by Statistics NZ highlight the need for action on Family Planning’s proposal to provide early medical abortion services, the president of the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand, Dame Margaret Sparrow, said today.

The figures for 2009 show New Zealand still lags in ensuring abortions are carried out as early as possible, although there is an improving trend.

The figures show that half of abortions in 2009 were performed at under 10 weeks gestation, up from around 46 percent in 2008 and from just under a third in 2003.

“This compares with 74 percent performed at under 10 weeks in Scotland in 2009, where medical abortions using the abortion pill (Mifegyne, formerly known as RU486) is now the preferred method, used in 69.9% of cases.” Dame Margaret said.

“Making medical abortion more accessible, as proposed by Family Planning, would certainly help improve our figures. The ASC in its Annual Report last year said it was considered ‘best practice’ that abortions be performed under 9 weeks gestation,” she said. According to the latest figures, that goal was reached in only 29.9% of cases.

Dame Margaret said Family Planning’s application had been with the Abortion Supervisory Committee for over a year, but still there has been no decision. “This should not be a controversial matter – early medical abortions are already available in eight New Zealand clinics, and the method has been used here since April 2002,” she said.

Dame Margaret noted the continued downward trend in overall abortion numbers from a peak of 18,511 in 2003, to 17,550 last year.

For information on early medical abortion, visit:
www.alranz.org/ALRANZpamphletmedicalabortion.htm
or www.alranz.org
safeandlegal@gmail.com