Thirty years ago this month New Zealand legalized abortion.
In today's SST Rosemary McLeod looks back and ponders the results.
Nobody anticipated a steady rise in abortion figures, or that abortion would become a backstop contraceptive measure for some women. We thought the procedure would be too unpleasant to bear repeating, but we were wrong about that, too, and we would have ridiculed anyone who predicted our current abortion statistics. Our abortion rate now exceeds Germany, the Netherlands and Finland. Only the United States and Australia carry out more.
We've done our best, surely, through education to minimise the number of abortions. It's a brutal solution, after all, physically and emotionally hard on women, even if you sidestep the ethical problems it raises. Contraception is now freely available to even underage children, and sex education starts at primary school. But the number of 11 to 14-year-old girls having abortions has increased 144% in the past 15 years, and among 15 to 19-year-olds by 74%. Teenage pregnancies make up nearly 25% of all abortions. We don't seem to know enough about why.
Well perhaps a major part of the problem is that "sex education starts at primary school " and that the focus of "sexuality" education is on the wrong things.
We live in an odd culture, we worry endlessly that the Arctic may melt 100 years from now but seem unconcerned that we are not producing the future generations who will be alive to see this prediction not come to pass.
The sad thing is that we place little value children and parenting and that is the real reason that more than 17,000 New Zealanders are slaughtered each year before they are even born.
They are just little people who would get in the way of the pursuit of personal fulfillment.