21 Jun 2012

Contraceptive implants helping reduce abortions, say specialists

9:39 am on 21 June 2012

A 13-year low in the number of abortions is being put down to the increasing use of the contraceptive implant.

Statistics New Zealand says 15,863 abortions were performed last year, the lowest level since 1999.

Family Planning says 4000 implants have been inserted this year alone compared with 200 hundred last year.

Auckland Hospital clinical director of gynaecology Dr Mahesh Harilall believes the implants are the main cause of an almost 30% drop in terminations over the past three years.

Dr Pippa MacKay, who performs abortions at Christchurch's Lyndhurst Hospital and carries out about 20 contraceptive implants a week, says the five-year duration of the implants will help reduce abortion rates.

The devices became subsidised last year, and last month the Government announced it would pay for their use by women on benefits.

The Government said it was setting aside $1 million over four years to subsidise medical appointments to arrange contraception or intra-uterine devices for women on a benefit and their teenage daughters.