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Abortions in Alabama drop 15 percentcomment (0)

February 13, 2014

By Carrie Brown McWhorter


Alabama pro-life activists are encouraged by a recent report showing that the number of abortions obtained in Alabama fell 15 percent between 2008 and 2011, reflecting a similar drop in abortions nationwide.

“We are optimistic that there is a national change in attitude as a result of pro-life educational efforts,” said Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition. 

According to a report released Feb. 3 by the Guttmacher Institute, titled “Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States 2011,” abortions in the U.S. declined to 16.9 per 1,000 women ages 15–44 in 2011, the latest year that statistics are available. That number is well below the 1981 peak of 29.3 per 1,000 and the lowest since 1973, when procedures numbered 16.3 per 1,000 women in that age group. 

In 2011, 9,550 women obtained abortions in Alabama, producing a rate of 10 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. In 2008, the rate was 11.7 abortions per 1,000 women 15–44, according to the report. 

The report largely parallels estimates in the National Right to Life Committee’s abortion report issued in January, which was based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and previous findings by the Guttmacher Institute, a former research arm of Planned Parenthood.

The decline in abortions in the U.S. cannot be appreciated without giving credit to legislative and educational efforts of pro-life organizations, said National Right to Life President Carol Tobias.

“The legislative efforts of the right-to-life movement, and significantly, the resulting national debate and educational campaigns surrounding pro-life legislation should not be minimized when discussing the decline in abortion numbers,” Tobias said in a news release.

“The more Americans learn about the development of the unborn child and the tragedy of abortion, the more they reject abortion as a legitimate answer to an unexpected pregnancy.”

Pro-life advocates in Alabama believe that efforts to educate women about the long-term impact of abortion coupled with increased support for mothers who choose life are contributing to the decrease in abortions statewide. 

“People are beginning to understand that abortion is not without impact to the woman who chooses that option. Abortion is a decision that has lifelong impact and shouldn’t be taken lightly,” said Cameron Smith, vice president and general counsel for the Alabama Policy Institute. 

As the issue of abortion has come out of the shadows and into the mainstream conversation, more people have the opportunity to reach out to friends and family members and talk about alternatives, Smith said. In addition, efforts by crisis pregnancy centers, churches and other organizations to help mothers facing an unintended pregnancy have made a difference. These groups have recognized that these women are caught in a tough situation and are talking to them about alternatives to abortion. 

“It’s an exciting thing when mothers are giving abortion a second thought and thinking about life, especially when they are able to find people who are willing to come alongside them and help them not be so scared,” Smith said. “Churches and other groups who have made that their priority have had a far greater impact than any change in law.”

The Guttmacher report made note of a 13 percent decrease in abortion during the study period, which pre-dated a surge in state anti-abortion laws and the closing of clinics offering abortion. 

Despite the declining numbers, abortions still number 21.2 per 100 pregnancies ending in live birth or abortion, Guttmacher found.

(BP contributed)

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