Saturday, January 26, 2008

Abortion rate declines

Behind the Abortion Decline
Published: January 26, 2008
The best practical strategy for reducing abortions is to focus on helping women avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Almost two-thirds of the decline in the total number of abortions can be traced to eight jurisdictions with few or no abortion restrictions — New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, California, Oregon, Washington State and the District of Columbia. These are places, notes the Guttmacher Institute’s president, Sharon Camp, that have shown a commitment to real sex education, largely departing from the Bush administration’s abstinence-only approach. These jurisdictions also help women avoid unintended pregnancies by making contraception widely available.


brian said...


I've wasted countless hours debating with people about pro-life (anti-abortion) or pro-choice. IMO, no one is pro-abortion. I don't know a single person who wants to see more abortions.

When I saw the abortion rate had declined, my thought was this is something we can all celebrate. And, whether we're pro-life or pro-choice, we can all work together to reduce the situations where women seek abortions.


Kansas Bob said...

Ditto Brian's comments for me.. he and I have had a debate or two about this one :)

The reality is.. at least in this country.. that unmarried people of all ages have sex. Given this reality and the large number of people just living together (this has become very acceptable in our "progressive" culture), I think that it is absolutely in our culture's best interest to make sure that places like planned parenthood survive to help young people to have everything they need in the way of education and products around contraception.

Bilbo said...

Ditto Brian's comments for me, as well...One size fits all generally doesn't work well in most situations and for a long time now I haven't considered the work of pro-choice/pro-life advocates as mutually exclusive...even though, apparently a lot of them do...

iluka said...

I'm not pro-abortion but and I'm not entirely absolutely pro-choice. I don't approve of very late term abortions, for example, unless the mother's health is at risk. It seems to me if a child can survive outside the womb it shouldn't be aborted. My brother's girlfriend had an abortion at 6 months - he was a teenager, she was a bit older and the baby wasn't his but it nevertheless haunts him 30 years later. On the other hand, it wasn't a very stable situation in which to have a child, and the girl/woman was definitely not ready to be a mother. If my parents had known they would have offered to adopt the child. The young woman had free and unfettered access to birth control but was just silly and irresponsible. So, even with readily available and free birth control as we have here, abortions will still happen. However, they will be a lot fewer with sex-education and accessible birth control. Most mothers I know put their daughters on the pill at 16 whether they need it or not. About 50% of the friends my age have had an abortion in their teens or early adulthood, which might have something to do with why their daughters are on the pill.

julieunplugged said...

iluka, that is a startling statisitic (50% of your friends have had abortions). I went to a high school get together with some of my closest girlfriends. We talked about mutual friends from back in high school and by pooling our insider information, I found out about five girls I had known who had had abortions (between 1976-1979) that I had not known about at the time. Floored me.

It's when you know about abortions that it becomes so much more real.

iluka said...

Yes, I was a bit shocked too when I counted them up. and thought about it. There were girls I knew quite well in high school and I had no idea what they were going through at the time. These were early term abortions, mind you. The thing is that most of them were using birth control, or they say they were. A lot of them were also Christians, at least in the sense that they went to church and professed to be. Most of them have families and careers now. Abortions are just one of those secrets in the family closet, like sexual abuse, that lots of people have been through but no one talks about.

EE said...

The article has a lot of factual errors or omissions:

1) States like Massachusetts have introduced parental consent laws that led to a reduction in abortion rates (perhaps the author does not consider that a "restriction.")

2) These states or areas, such as New York and the District of Columbia, still have the highest abortion rates in the United States.They were bound to be the ones to see reductions. If you are a traditionally pro-life state with almost no abortion providers and a very low abortion rate, you don't have that much to reduce.

3) The Alan Guttmacher study which this refers to calculated both surgical and chemical abortions in computing the overall decline so the writer's whole discussion about Ru-486 is completely irrelevant.

The highest abortion in the U.S. occurred in the late '70's and early '80's. Today's young people have more info on the procedure and fetal development. It is about education.

The whole contraception/abstinence debate is irrelevant. If young people have clear goals and life plans, they are less likely to take risks, period.

EE said...

There are a lot of factual errors and omissions in this article:

1) I know my home state of Massachusetts passed a parental consent law that led to a reduction in abortions. Perhaps the writer does not consider parental notification/consent a "restriction."

2) States or districts such as New York and the District of Columbia still have the highest abortion rates in the U.S. even after the reductions. They were bound to see some of the biggest reductions if the national abortion rate is in decline. Traditionally pro-life states which have almost no abortion providers and low abortion rates already simply don't have as far to reduce.

3) The Alan Guttmacher study which showed the decline calculated both surgical and chemical abortion so the whole discussion about RU-486 is irrelevant.

The contraception/abstinence debate
is ridiculous. I have worked with at-risk youth and what works is mentoring programs that focus on goals and life planning. If they believe they have a future, they will make smart decisions.

By the way, the highest abortion rates in the U.S. occurred in the late '70's and early '80's because women back then had very little info on the procedure or fetal development. Young people today know are much more educated on this issue than prior generations.