New contraception slows abortion rates
Abortion rates have hit a 17-year-low as implant contraception use skyrockets across the country.
Recently released Statistics New Zealand figures show that in 2012, 14,745 women had an abortion.
It is the lowest rate since 1995, 17 years ago, when more than 13,500 women had an abortion.
Family Planning chief executive Jackie Edmond said abortion rates were falling worldwide as long-acting, reversible contraception becomes more accessible and affordable.
One of the most popular of these is the Jadelle implant, roughly the size of a matchstick, which is inserted into the skin of the upper arm under local anaesthetic.
It releases a hormone to prevent pregnancy and lasts for five years.
Since Jadelle became subsidised in August 2010, uptake at Family Planning clinics alone has increased more than 2500 per cent.
In the financial year 2008/2009 just 143 women opted for the implant, which then cost around $300.
In the last financial year almost 4000 women opted to pay $5 and a small insertion fee for the implant.
Across the country more than 13,500 women got an implant last year.
"We are seeing an increase in use and that is having a positive impact," Edmond said.
Births have also dropped across New Zealand at the same time, falling from 63,897 in 2010 to 61,178 in 2012.
Unlike the pill, women do not have to worry about taking medication when using the implant.
This might have spurred a drop in conception while people were intoxicated and forgetting to use contraception, Edmonds said.
Although, she cautioned that "all forms of contraception do have a failure rate".
Edmonds was pleased fewer women were facing the tough, emotional decision of an abortion.
However, she was "always cautious about celebrating numbers" until more research is done.
Jadelle implants were subsidised in 2010 and abortion rates have dropped sharply since. (Statistics New Zealand) National abortion rate 2009: 17,550
2012: 14,745 Canterbury 2009: 2067
Step by step To have an abortion, women must first see a doctor and then obtain approval from two certifying consultants. Research from the University of Otago, Christchurch, suggests abortion does not reduce the mental health risks of unwanted pregnancy.
It found a range of other factors associated with unwanted pregnancy, including education, family finances, the needs of other children and relationships.