CDC Figures Claim U.S. Abortion Rates In Decline

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

write-thru; additional stats and information about abortion advocacy groups

(CNS) - A new study showing abortion rates at an all-time low has many pro-life activists suggesting public opinion is beginning to shift against the practice but has several pro-abortion groups declining to make any public statements on the findings.

Last Thursday, the Center for Disease Control released the 1996 figures on the number of abortions in the United States. The 1996 national abortion rate (virtually the same as 1995) continues to be the lowest rate recorded since 1975, while the national abortion ratio increased slightly from 311 in 1995 to 314 in 1996 and is at its lowest level since 1976.

"The latest figures released by the CDC showing a continuing trend toward fewer abortions," Laura Echevarria, director of Media Relations at The National Right to Life, told CNSNews.com. "The more the American people learn about the humanity of the unborn child and the violence of abortion, the more they reject abortion."

CNSNews.com contacted a number of abortion advocacy groups, but was denied comment. Planned Parenthood failed to respond to repeated requests for comment. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (N.A.R.A.L) did not return repeated telephone calls, while Emily's List, a pro-abortion candidate fundraising operation, told CNSnews.com that it did not want to make a statement about the study.

The CDC reports that the number of legal, induced abortions rose less than one percent (0.9) nationwide to 1,221,585 with a low rate of 20 per 1,000 women ages 15-44 and a ratio of 314 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Pro-life groups are attributing the decline of abortion rates and ratios to possible changes in attitudes concerning abortion and education efforts by pro-life Americans.

"The pendulum is on the swing back now," Pro-Life America President J.T. Finn told CNSNews.com. "I would say the reason abortion rates are declining is that women who have had abortions are fed up with the lie of abortion... and they're not going to be quiet anymore and they're helping to warn the world about what abortion really is."

"We applaud the work of countless pro-life citizens working in their communities to educate their neighbors and encourage life," said Echevarria. "Pro-lifers everywhere will continue working to educate Americans about the tragedy of abortion."

"More young mothers are choosing life for their unborn children," American Life League President Judie Brown told CNSNews.com.

According CDC's "Abortion Surveillance of 1996" some of its highlights are:

    Fifty-two reporting areas in the U.S., including all fifty states, New York City, and Washington D.C.

    Women aged 20-24 years obtained approximately one third (32 percent) of all abortions.

    Abortion rates were highest for the 20-24 age group with 38 abortions occurring per 1,000 women.

    Abortion ratios were highest for young women (i.e. 723 abortions per 1,000 live births for women under 15 years old and 415 per 1,000 for women 15-19) and for the oldest women (376 per 1,00 live births for women aged 40-44 years old).

    The ratio was lowest for women aged 30-34 (165 per 1,000 live births).

    Most legal abortions were performed in California (280,180), followed by New York City (152,991), Texas, and Florida.

    California also had the highest rate of abortions with 39 per 1,000 women, followed by New York City at 37, Florida with 27, Delaware at 26, and Rhode Island at 24.

    Seventy-eight percent of women who obtained abortions were unmarried. The abortion rate for unmarried women was approximately eight times the ratio for married women (655 versus 78 abortion per 1,000).

    The national legal abortion ratio increased from 1970 through 1980, peaked at 364 per 1,000 live births in 1984, and began to decrease steadily in 1987, from 356 per 1,000 to 311 in 1995. The 1996 abortion rate remained stable at 20 per 1,000 women.

    Approximately 92 percent of abortions were obtained within the state in which the woman resided. The percentage of abortions obtained by out-of-state residents ranged from 0.5 percent in Hawaii to 50 percent in D.C.

    Approximately 57 percent of women who received abortions were white. The abortion ratio for black women was 555 per 1,000 live births, nearly 2.7 times the ratio for white women (202 per 1,000 live births). The abortion ratio of other races (360 per 1,000 live births) was close to 1.8 times the ratio for white women.

CDC figures are typically underreported as the study is based on voluntary reporting requirements for abortion facilities.

For more information check out the Center for Disease Control survey