Source: The Herald Sun, Friday November 13, 1998, p.7
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.
Pregnancies: just 50% end with live baby
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