Tuesday, July 19, 2005

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED TO BABY JANE. There is good news today on the abortion front. Recent abortion data shows that the number of abortions continues to decrease, maintaining a decade-long trend. The rate of abortions is at its lowest level since 1976.

The number is still appallingly high. That is the bad news. In 2002, 1.29 million women in the U.S. aborted their babies. This is in contrast to 1990, when 1.61 million women aborted. It is still a lot of dead babies. Roughly 242 babies per thousand were aborted in 2002, to put it in a different perspective. It was 280 in 1990.

As you would expect, women who did not intend to get pregnant get the most abortions. 47 percent of unintended pregnancies were aborted. Those who are most likely to have an unintended pregnancy are teenagers, unmarried women, Black women, Hispanic women, and low income women. White women get about 40 percent of all U.S. abortions, black women 32 percent and Hispanic women 20 percent. Women of other races account for the other 8 percent. Black and Hispanic women have higher rates of abortion than non-Hispanic whites.

25% of abortions occur among unmarried women who live with a male partner, putting this group at elevated risk of unintended pregnancy and increasing the rate of abortion. 56 percent of women who abort are in their twenties. Teenagers between 15 and 19 have 19 percent of abortions. This percentage has, fortunately, dropped substantially in recent years. To go with that drop, there has been a decline in sexual activity reported by teenage males. Maybe all the abstinence talk is having an effect despite the disdain shown by the media and Planned (Un)Parenthood.

You can also no longer say that poor women do not have equal access to abortion. Low-income women comprise sixty percent of women who had abortions in 2000. They have access to “family planning services", including contraception, counseling and abortion in government health departments, independent clinics or Planned Parenthood. I guess you have noticed by now that “family planning” is an euphemism for preventing pregnancy or terminating it.

The decline in the number of abortions has also caused a decline in profitability. The number of abortion providers declined 11 percent from 1996 to 2000. There are still around 1,800 abortion providers in the country.

That means that there are some towns and counties out there blessed by the absence of an abortion clinic.
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