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In 2003, 4 out of 5 Asian women aborted their babies

Abortion ratios for 2003 showed that among women of Asian ethnicities roughly 4 out of every 10 known pregnancies ended in abortion. This is half the ratio quoted above.

Abortion ratios give the proportion of pregnancies that end in an abortion. They are usually expressed as the number of abortions per 1,000 known pregnancies. Known pregnancies are live births, still births, and abortions combined. Abortion ratios do not give an indication of the likelihood of getting pregnant.

Abortion ratios are not the same as abortion rates. Abortion rates measure how many abortions a group of women are likely to have in a given period.


This myth is busted.

Abortion ratios for the Asian ethnic group were:

  • 2003 – 397
  • 2004 – 354
  • 2005 – 341.

In comparison, abortion ratios for New Zealand as a whole were:

  • 2003 – 248
  • 2004 – 239
  • 2005 – 233.

How did this myth arise?

Statistics New Zealand produces annual abortion statistics on behalf of the Abortion Supervisory Committee. Part 7 of Demographic Trends: 2004 states that "There are also significant differences in the abortion ratio between ethnic groups when analysed by age. In 2003, 4 in 5 (81 percent) pregnant Asian teenagers (aged under 20 years) aborted their pregnancy." It appears that this myth has arisen from a copy and paste that left out a very important descriptor: it relates to teenagers.

Teenagers have the highest abortion ratios. In 2005, New Zealand's teenage abortion ratio was 478 abortions per 1,000 known pregnancies. For specific groups of ethnicities, teenage abortions ratios in 2005 were:

  • Māori – 312
  • Pacific – 390
  • European – 526
  • Asian – 740.

Abortion rates and pregnancy rates by ethnicity are not available as Statistics NZ does not produce annual population estimates for the Pacific, Asian, or European ethnic groups.

For your information

Abortion statistics – information releases 
Statistics on the number of abortions performed in New Zealand.

Published 22 June 2012, based on information previously published on 8 March 2007.

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