Bob McCoskrie – National Director – Family First NZ
(Published in the Otago Daily Times 25 June 2007)
The abortion figures for 2006 released by Statistics NZ continue to paint a terrible picture for our teenagers. Since 1991, the number of 11-14 year olds having an abortion has increased by 144%. The number of abortions for 15-19 year olds has increased by 74%. Each week, almost 80 teenagers have an abortion, and represent almost a quarter of all abortions performed in NZ. In 2004, our MP’s recently voted down an amendment to the Care of Children Bill that would have meant that parents were notified if their teenage daughter was pregnant and seeking an abortion, except in exceptional circumstances.
Researchers at Baruch College at City University of New York studied the records of teen abortions and births for the two years before a similar Texas law took effect in 2000 and for the three years afterwards. After the state enacted the parental notification law, abortion rates dropped for girls ages 15 through 18, even though the 18-year-olds were not subject to the law. But the drop was more pronounced among the younger girls. Their rates fell 11 to 20 percent more than the rate among the 18-year-olds did.
The bottom line is that whether a person is pro- or anti-abortion, we probably all agree that it is not in the best interests of a young teenage girl to become pregnant and be forced into making the decision of whether to keep or abort the baby. Yet, we are doing little to prevent this scenario happening, and teenagers are not being informed of the research surrounding the possible effects of having an abortion.