released last week, will appear in the June edition of the
peer-reviewed Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, published
report, released by the research arm of Planned Parenthood has received
considerable criticism, it makes clear the dire problem of abortion in
the U.S.--particularly among the impoverished.
found that from 1994 through 2001, the rate of unplanned pregnancies
rose almost 30 percent for women below the federal poverty line. That
rate fell by 20 percent during the same period for affluent women,
reported the Washington Post.
The authors said
the growing disparities between richer and poorer women appeared to be
the result of greater contraceptive use by the more affluent. There
were also racial differences. Black and Hispanic women were more likely
to become pregnant than white women, and black women had the highest
percentage of unintended pregnancies and abortions.
Asked what was
driving the trends, the authors told the Washington Post that some
state and federal sex-education programs have been cut in recent years.
They say state and federal programs have increasingly focused on
abstinence rather than contraception, which some analysts say has led
to less contraceptive use and more unintended pregnancies.
Unruh, president and founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, said the
growing number of unintended pregnancies among poorer women shows that
traditional sex education programs are failing.
poor women are often so condescending, even degrading," she told the
Post. "They teach how to put on a condom rather than how to take
control of their lives."
The report also
found that the overall abortion rate has declined and that a higher
percentage of women with unintended pregnancies are carrying their
babies to term. It also found that women who have abortions are doing
so earlier in their pregnancies.
pregnancy rate for women of child-bearing age declined slightly from
1994 to 2001, as did the abortion rate. There were 6.4 million
pregnancies in the U.S. in 2001 and about 4 million births. There were
1.3 million abortions and 1.1 million miscarriages. The pregnancies
were almost evenly divided between intended and unintended, and the
unintended ones led to almost even numbers of births and abortions.
women are increasingly likely to have unwanted pregnancies and
abortions than affluent women, says a recent study on pregnancy and
abortion, conducted by the Guttmacher Institute. Researchers analyzed
federal statistics gathered by the National Center for Health
Statistics and other sources.