The number of abortions had by Bay of Plenty women has decreased 8 per cent since 2013, new data reveals.
Statistics New Zealand data shows fewer Bay of Plenty women had abortions in 2014 than in any year since records began in 2004. Bay women had 667 abortions last year, compared to 726 in 2013, a decrease of 8 per cent.
Pregnancy Choice Centre co-ordinator Janice Tetley-Jones said the majority of women visiting the centre were choosing to continue with their pregnancies.
Many women who found themselves pregnant unexpectedly felt their only choice was abortion until they learned what support was available.
"Women in a crisis pregnancy often feel very alone and scared, but it has seemed to have made a real difference with the support they can access. They can keep coming in to see us if they are nervous about their pregnancy.
"Some women feel they have to have an abortion because they have no choice for various reasons. If we can enable their choice, we can find out what they would really like to do. We can refer them to agencies to support their decision."
The women were also visiting the centre after having a baby to continue being supported by volunteer staff, Mrs Tetley-Jones said.
The centre also ran post-abortion Living in Colour groups for women struggling after having aborted, although Mrs Tetley-Jones pointed out not all women struggled with the choice to have an abortion.
Voice for Life Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust chairman Don Brebner said he loved seeing the abortion figures going down.
"It's not just the fact that young people are getting more and more understanding of human life beginning early in the womb, there might also be better contraceptives that are now available, like the Jadelle implant which lasts five years."
Family Planning national medical adviser Christine Roke said there were many reasons why the rate was dropping, including wider use of long-term contraceptives.
"It's fit and forget contraception, you don't have to remember to take a pill or wear a condom."
Better sexuality education in schools could be helping, as could access to the emergency contraceptive in pharmacies.
"It's a good thing the numbers are going down. It's better to have good contraception than to face having a pregnancy and having to decide at that early stage what to do," Dr Roke said.