Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
N Z Med J. 1977 Dec 28;86(602):567-70.

Maori abortion practices in pre and early European New Zealand.


The practice of abortion and infanticide in pre and early European New Zealand is confirmed. The reasons for these practices and the methods used are discussed in relation to early Maori attitudes and mythology.


There is much evidence to support the conclusion that both infanticide and induced abortion were widely practiced in pre- and early-European New Zealand by the Maoris. Reasons for the practice of both abortion and infanticide were more often social than medical. The desire to stay young, fertility control, and the fear of social disgrace are cited as some reasons why abortion was practiced. Methods of inducing abortion included drugs, religious methods, and constrictive belts. Infanticide was practiced as revenge by a mother on a wondering husband or as a means of matching the population to the food supply. Because female babies were less highly valued than males, it was females who were almost always killed. The religous mythology surrounding both these practices is reviewed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center