The Guttmacher Institute has come out with a new report documenting 30 year (1974-2004) trends in U.S. abortions. Overall the numbers are at an all time low, though disparities still remain among the different ethnic groups. Some other things in the report worth noting (some of my own emphasis added):
First. They still insist that contraception is the ultimate answer for lower abortion numbers:
A substantial drop in the abortion rates of teenagers and women aged 20–24 accounts for much of the overall decline from 1989 to 2004. A large part of the drop among teenagers is likely attributable to more use of contraceptives and more effective method use.
But then they have to admit that the evidence doesn’t really support that claim:
However, the decrease in the abortion rates among teenagers and women aged 20–24 from the early 1990s to 2001 was accompanied by an increase in the proportion of unintended pregnancies ending in birth,13 suggesting that at least part of the decline in the abortion rate among these women was due to an increase in the proportion of unintended pregnancies continued to a birth. Among the possible reasons for this are greater acceptance in society of nonmarital childbearing, more difficulties in obtaining abortion services in some parts of the United States and changing attitudes toward abortion.
What’s more, a majority of abortions come from women who get pregnant despite using some form of contraception. From the Guttmacher Institute’s July 2008 in brief report Facts on Induced Abortions in the U.S.:
• Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant. Among those women, 76% of pill users and 49% of condom users report having used their method inconsistently, while 13% of pill users and 14% of condom users report correct use.
Second. This is most disappointing:
In recent years, the proportion of women obtaining abortions who already have at least one child has increased…Because they already have children, a majority of women having abortions are aware of the implications of assuming responsibility for an additional child.
60% of women obtaining abortions already had children!! This is up from 50% in 1989 and 46% in 1974. This is hard for me to fathom. I mean all abortions are hard for me to understand, but especially those that come from women who have at one point joyfully carried life within them.
I am grateful that overall abortions are down and seem to be continually declining. But more work certainly needs to be done. Along with a changing attitude toward abortion and the life of the unborn child we must have a changing attitude toward sex which is the root of the abortion problem:
What is the Theology of the Body & Why is it Changing so Many Lives?