Family Planning Admits High Number of Secret Abortions

Media Release 4 June 2015
Family First NZ says a stunning admission has been made by Family Planning Association that up to 1,000 young teenage girls have been taken for an abortion without their parents knowledge since 2004, when a change to the law was rejected by Parliament.

The admission was made by the Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond in an interview with Paul Henry last week. She cited a study that suggested that around 25% of schoolgirls who have had an abortion in New Zealand don’t tell their parents they have had one.

Abortion figures from Statistics NZ show that from 2004 – 2013, 799 abortions were performed on 11-14 year olds, and a further 34,000-plus on older teenagers. Focusing on just the younger teens (aged 11-15), that would mean that up to 1,000 families with young teenage daughters have been affected by this law in that short period of time, based on Family Planning’s estimates.

“A recent research paper argued that most female adolescents only start to acquire sufficient autonomous capacity from the age of 14 years and as such the legislative wording of the current law is problematic and arguably careless,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.

“This means that while a parent has to sign a letter for their daughter to go on a school trip to the zoo or to play in the netball team, they are totally excluded from any knowledge or granting of permission for that same child to have a surgical abortion. It begs the question – what is so unique about abortion procedures which allows for the prohibition of parental consent?” says Mr McCoskrie.

Induced abortions TEENS – Statistics NZ
December year Age group (years)
11−14 15−19
Series ref: ABNA S30GRPAD S30GRPBD
2004 85 3,758
2005 92 3,718
2006 105 3,978
2007 104 4,173
2008 83 4,097
2009 79 3,873
2010 84 3,389
2011 68 2,822
2012 51 2,489
2013 48 2,096
799 34,393

Family First is calling for the law to be amended to allow for parental notification in all cases of medical advice, prescriptions and procedures unless it can be proved to a Family Court that it would place the child at extreme risk.

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