Introduction

Few other issues arouse such strong emotions and passions as abortion. The Springbok Tour of 1981 divided the nation for a year. Euthanasia surfaces as a subject of controversy from time-to-time, but abortion remains a constant minefield in any social or public gathering.

Since the first abortion clinic opened in May 1974, there have been over 284,000 recorded abortions to the end of 2002. One-in-three pregnancies now end in abortion.

Almost every New Zealand extended family has been affected.

Yet in many ways, this most controversial of issues is shrouded in mystery. People know it is there and available, but little else. In the 1970s and 80s, the newspapers carried many features and letters to the editors, there was much public debate.