Loading
Drop in abortion numbers could reflect changing attitudes
By Kevin J. Jones
A picture of a pregnant woman. CNA file photo.
A picture of a pregnant woman. CNA file photo.

.- A new government report estimates the number of U.S. abortions dropped five percent in 2009, drawing praise from pro-life advocates and researchers who say the drop could be due in part to an increase in the numbers of pro-life Americans.

“Overall I’m pleased to see the abortion numbers are coming down,” Michael J. New, a political science professor at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, told CNA Nov. 26. “We’ve seen a pretty consistent downward trend in abortion since 1990. The numbers have declined almost every year. The numbers are down almost 25 percent overall since the early nineties. Overall, that’s a good thing.”

New said it is “very hard to say” what caused the short-term decline. He suggested a combination of more pro-life laws, the lack of abortion clinics in many parts of the country, and the change of “hearts and minds” on abortion.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Nov. 21 released a report based on figures from 43 states and two cities. Although there are an estimated 1 million abortions in the U.S. each year, the report counted about 785,000 in 2009. The figures do not include statistics from California, which has the most abortion providers in the country.

Using the available figures, researchers found that abortions fell from 16 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age in 2008 to about 15 per 1,000 women in 2009, about 38,000 fewer abortions.

New noted that 2009 was the first year a majority of respondents to the Gallup Survey questions on abortion said they were pro-life.

“Now in fairness we don’t have a lot of research which correlates public opinion towards abortion with abortion rates, but I think that’s something that ought to be considered,” he said.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of Americans United for Life, said the drop in abortions is “a real cause for giving thanks.”

However, she questioned why the abortion-related deaths of 12 women are “buried in the very last table of the report and unremarked on in the news.”

“The news from this report is that abortion harms women, as well as their babies,” she said Nov. 23.

New, whose work has examined the possible effects of state policy on the abortion rate, said the decline was “pretty broad based” and not confined to states that vote mainly Republican or Democratic.

Among reporting states, Mississippi had the lowest abortion rate of 4 per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. New York state, which has the second most abortion providers in the U.S., had the highest abortion rate of 29.8 per 1,000 women of child bearing age. New York also reported 466 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Most abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy, the government report said. About 85 percent of women who seek abortions are not married. White women had the lowest abortion rate of 8.5 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age. The rate among Hispanic women was 19.3 per 1,000, while among black women the rate was 34.2 per 1,000.

There are few records that measure how many women choose to carry their babies to term after engagement with pro-life advocates.

The 40 Days for Life organization, which leads national campaigns of prayer and outreach outside abortion clinics, reported that its participants helped save over 430 babies from abortion in its spring 2009 campaign and over 600 babies in its fall 2009 campaign.

Several researchers told the Associated Press that the drop in the numbers of abortions could be due to more widespread and more effective use of contraception.

However, New was skeptical.

“Quite honestly there is no evidence to back that up,” he told CNA. “I haven’t seen any data which suggests that starting in 2009 women started to use contraception more often or they started to use more effective contraception. I think that’s just purely conjecture.”

Tags: Abortion, Pro-life


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
18

Liturgical Calendar

April 18, 2014

Friday of the Passion of the Lord (Good Friday)

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Gospel
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Is 52:13-53:12
Second Reading:: Heb 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Gospel:: Jn 18:1-19:42

Homily of the Day

Jn 18:1 - 19:42

Homily
Date
04/18/14
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: