Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great News: Decline in Teenage Abortions

Anglican Pewster sent me an interesting article on the new Guttmacher Institute analysis of data on abortions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new analysis looks more closely at the previous news that the abortion rate has dropped 33 percent from a peak of 29 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 1980 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004.

The good news is that the teen abortion rate fell by more than half, from 42 abortions per 1,000 teenage girls at their peak rate in 1989 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004. That is the same 20 per 1,000 as for all women 15 to 44 in 2004, so now teenagers are no more likely to get an abortion than older women.

The new analysis shows that the bad news is the greater frequency of abortions for women of color and women who already have a child.

There are quite a few news articles on this analysis, some emphasizing the reduction in teen abortions and others emphasizing the disparity between socioeconomic groups. The Washington Post had a good article by Rob Stein with a powerful concluding quote:
Michael J. New, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama who works with the Family Research Council, attributed the drop in teenage pregnancies to a combination of factors, including increased contraceptive use, more teenagers delaying sex and state laws requiring parental consent.

"The states with the most active pro-life laws have seen the biggest abortion declines," he said.

And the Catholic News Agency has an interesting article with an emphasis on the Planned Parenthood outreach to African-Americans:
CNA discussed the study in a Wednesday phone interview with Dr. Alveda King, niece of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a pastoral associate for Priests for Life.

King said people “may miss the implications” from the raw data.

“You’ve got raw data that shows the abortion rate has declined among women, but there’s a disparate rate among African-American women,” she noted.

“The question should be ‘why?’

“The answer is that the abortion clinics are present at a much higher rate in African-American communities.

“Abortion is pitched to black women as therapeutic and so black women are still having more abortions, and that information is not readily apparent in a study like Guttmacher’s.”

FYI Anglican Pewster runs Not Another Episcopal Church Blog


The Underground Pewster said...

The success of states at reducing abortions is recognized by our elected officials in Washington. As a response, they have introduced the "Freedom of Choice Act" S. 1173 and H.R. 1964.
To which the Archbishop of Philadelphia Cardinal Rigali has issued this response.

He recognizes that FOCA would sweep away those state based initiatives that may be lowering the abortion rates.

The Underground Pewster said...

h/t Cato