Source: The Herald Sun, Friday November 13, 1998, p.7


Birth figure shock

Married mums
number declines

By FIONA CONNOLLY 
 
ONLY half the 
pregnancies in 
Australia last year 
ended in a live birth. 
 
   About 500,000 women 
became pregnant-but 
150,000 miscarried, 95,000 
had an abortion and 2000 
babies were stillborn. 
 
   Figures released yesterday 
also show the number of 
babies born to unmarried 
women is on the rise. 
 
   The number of married 
women who gave birth in 
1997 fell to an at/-time low 
of 180,000. 
 
   Most babies born in 
wedlock arrived in the 
second year of marriage, 
compared with the fourth 
year a decade ago. 
 
   The Australian Bureau of 
Statistics figures show one in 
three babies last year were 
born out of wedlock. They 
comprised 28 per cent of all 
births- a 70 per cent 
increase in the past 10 years. 
 
   Church and pro-life 
groups voiced concern at the 
number of abortions. 
 
   Monsignor John Walsh of 
the Catholic Archdiocese of 
Sydney, said abortion was 
becoming an easy option for 
unmarried and young 
mothers. 
 
   "95,000 abortions in this 
country last year is a 
staggering figure," he said. 
 
   "That's 10 times the 
number of people lost in 
hurricane Mitch. 
 
   "The real issue is people 
have the freedom to engage 
in sexual relationships 
without concern for 
consequences. 
 
   "As long as that is the 
attitude, abortion will always 
be there." 
 
   But the Australian Medical 
Association was not 
surprised by the abortion 
figures. 
 
   "Somewhere between 10 
and 20 per cent of all 
pregnancies end in 
miscarriages, so the figures 
are reasonable. It is 
something I would expect," 
said AMA obstetrician 
representative Dr Keith 
Hollybone. 
 
   Dr Hollybone was not 
surprised by the number of 
abortions. 
 
   "None of us like the idea 
of a termination. It's a 
necessary evil and 
nowadays we don't want too 
many unwanted children," 
he said. 
 
   The ABS figures show 
half of pregnancies outside 
marriage occurred in de 
facto relationships. 
 
But many Australian 
babies born last year will 
grow up without a father. An 
astounding 12,000 
births were not 
acknowledged by the father, 
the figures show. 
 
   Family and Community 
Services Minister Senator 
Jocelyn Newman said most 
babies born out of wedlock 
resulted from long-term 
relationships. 
 
   "We want to see more 
education in schools and in 
the home about how to 
become a parent-and a 
good parent," she said. 
 
Deaths hit 
home births 
 
TWICE as many babies die 
in planned home births in 
Australia than in other 
Western countries, 
according to research. 
 
   And Australian planned 
home births have death 
rates 1.5 times higher than 
comparable births in 
Australian hospitals, the 
research says. 
 
   Professor Marc Keirse 
professor Or obstetrics and 
gynaecology at Adelaide's 
Flinders Medical Centre, 
co-authored the report on 
home births in a recent 
British Medical Journal. 
 
   The report studied 7002 
planned home births in 
Australia from 1985-9O, 
including 50 baby deaths 
around the time of birth.

 


See also:

Pregnancies: just 50% end with live baby


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