by NZ CATHOLIC staff
WELLINGTON — Pro-life organisations have welcomed a drop in the annual number of abortions in New Zealand, but they have expressed sorrow at the thousands of children who were nonetheless terminated.
According to Statistics New Zealand data, there were 16,630 abortions performed in 2010, the lowest annual total since 2001 (16,410).
The number has been falling for several years, with 17,550 in 2009, 17,940 in 2008 and 18,380 in 2007.
The highest total was in 2003 when there were 18,510 abortions.
Voice for Life national president Bernard Moran said the drop in numbers was something to be grateful for, but there were still 16,630 dead babies.
Mr Moran called those lost babies a “symbol of the failure of imagination and will on the part of government, social services and the medical profession to look at humane alternatives to abortion”.
“Those babies didn’t have to die. They may have been unwanted by their parents, but they would have been wanted by plenty of others.”
Right to Life’s Ken Orr said the continuing reduction in abortions gives hope that New Zealand is rejecting a culture of death.
But Mr Orr called the deaths of 16,630 children “a tragic loss for our nation”, as countries that kill their own children do not have a future.
But Right to Life applauds women who decide to keep their babies.
“These women deserve the loving support of the community,” Mr Orr said.
Right to Life also has compassion for the many thousands of women who were probably coerced into having an abortion by family, friends, and/or the father of the child, Mr Orr added.
Family First’s Bob McCoskrie welcomed the drop in the number of abortions, but said it was still a huge concern that each week more than 65 teenage girls have an abortion.
“Teen abortions account for just over one fifth of all abortions in 2010,” Mr McCoskrie said.
“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 counsellor without the parents’ knowledge or consent,” he said.
The abortion rate for 2010 was 18.1 per 1000 women aged 15-44, down from 19.2 per 1000 in 2009.