Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Abortion NOT Rare - Rate is Increasing

After dropping for more than a decade, the U.S. abortion rate has begun to rise slightly, according to an extensive new survey of providers by the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute.

Analysts speculate that recession-conscious parents make economic choice to terminate children

-- From "Abortion Rate Rises After a Long Decline" by Anna Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal 1/11/11

The increase was just 1%, to 19.6 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age in 2008, from 19.4 in 2005, the last year captured by the group's previous survey.

The actual number of abortions performed also rose slightly in that period, to 1,212,350 from 1,206,200—the first increase since a steady march downward that began in 1990, the peak year for total abortions in the U.S. since the survey began tracking them in 1973.

Tracy Weitz, an associate professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said the data showed the growing role of large abortion providers, with the number providing 5,000 or more procedures per year up by more than 50% since the last survey. This may be because they are better equipped to deal with laws seeking to restrict abortion and with anti-abortion activity such as protests, she suggested.

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From "Falling for Years, Abortion Rate Levels Off, With More Choosing Medication Over Surgery" by Tamar Lewin, New York Times 1/10/11

The report found that more women were turning away from surgical abortion in favor of medication, usually mifepristone, the drug formerly known as RU-486, to end their pregnancies. The report estimates that about 17 percent of all 2008 abortions, and more than a quarter of those performed before nine weeks of gestation, were medication abortions.

Randall K. O’Bannon, director of education and research at the National Right to Life Committee, said the trend toward medication abortions had helped keep the abortion numbers steady.

Mifepristone was introduced in the United Sates in 2000, and according to the report, there were 187,000 medication abortions in 2008, compared with 158,000 the previous year. Many clinics that do not specialize in abortions offer only medication abortions.

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From "Data show abortion rate leveling off in 2008" by Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY 1/10/11

The report [was] released today online by the New York City-based Guttmacher Institute, which has tracked abortion since 1974 . . .

Guttmacher, which supports abortion rights, bases its periodic reports on surveys of abortion providers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which relies on voluntary reporting by state health departments, released its most recent report in 2009, based on 2006 data. It did not include California, New Hampshire or Louisiana.

Karen Pazol of Atlanta, who oversees the CDC's report, says the 2006 data did show "an interruption of the long-term decline" but because CDC doesn't have data for 2007 or 2008, she "can't predict whether it's a short-term change or a interruption of a long-term decline."

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From "Falloff in abortion rate and in number of procedures stalls" by Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer 1/11/11

The sudden plateau, which caused concern among anti-abortion activists and pro-choice advocates, raises the possibility that the decline could be reversing, though more data is needed to know for sure, said [Rachel K. Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute], whose survey of nearly 1,800 providers is being published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

While the overall abortion rate remained unchanged, there were significant shifts in individual regions and states . Generally, abortion rates were highest in the Northeast and West and lowest in the South and Midwest. But the rates also vary sharpy from state to state. For example, the District's abortion rate plummeted nearly 44 percent, tumbling from 54 to 30 per 1,000 women. The rate in Maryland fell 8 percent (31.5 to 29), while Virginia's rate increased 7 percent (16.5 to 17.6). The D.C. drop was probably because of to two clinics closing, which could have contributed to the increase in Virginia as women sought abortions there instead, Jones said.

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