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Abortion Rates At Lowest Level In Over 30 Years!

Always nice to hear this…although just one is one too many.

Data from Mississippi:

Since hitting a high of nearly 15 percent in 1997, Mississippi has seen steady decline in abortion rates each year. The rate went from 7 percent in 2005 down to 6.1 percent in 2006 (the last year we have the statistics). These rates are at the lowest since Mississippi was forced to legalize abortion in the mid-1970s.

From the Associated Press:

The number of abortions in the United States dropped to 1.2 million in 2005, the lowest level since 1974 and down 25 percent from the all-time high of 1.6 million in 1990, according to report issued Thursday.

More…

According to the Guttmacher data, the number of abortions declined by 8 percent between 2000 and 2005, from 1.31 million to 1.21 million. Similarly, the 2005 abortion rate of 19.4 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 was down 9 percent from 2000.

Abortion rates were highest in Washington, D.C., New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Florida, Maryland and California. Rates were lowest in largely rural states: Wyoming, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Idaho and Utah.

6 Responses to “Abortion Rates At Lowest Level In Over 30 Years!”

  1. It is good news.

    Have you seen this:
    http://www.democratsforlife.org/documents_etc/95_10brochure.pdf

  2. Could it also be that in the past 7 years, President Bush and his Republican allies in Congress put more and more and more restrictions on abortions throughout the United States?

    Could it also be that the MS Legislature put more and more mandates on women seeking abortions?

    I doubt that there has been some complete rush to hate abortions. It’s more likely that the way Bush and the GOP have handled the issue of abortion that has led to this reduction.

    Let’s also keep in mind that with statistics showing that abortions decreasing, there are still statistics showing that the number of teenagers becoming pregnant is on the rise. Guess what this means, folks. It means there will be more teenage girls dropping out of high school and more social services to help these kids. Why not teach kids about safe sex? Since there have been NO reports that indicate that abstinence programs work, it seems that if we give our kids INFORMATION they would be able to better inform themselves. Crazy how education works, huh? As the old saying goes, knowledge is power!

  3. Ryan, the World Health Organization put out a study last year that strongly suggested that the rate of abortion is not directly proportional to abortion’s legal status in a given country. There are at least four million abortions per annum in Latin America, for example, despite the fact that abortion is illegal on most of the continent. This is no surprise when you look at how easily obtaned abortifacients, such as the anti-ulcer drug misoprostol, are. Two bucks for a little pill versus US$600 for a medically supervised abortion? Quite a bargain, if we don’t look at the fact that non-medically supervised abortions account for the deaths of an estimated 80,000 women per year worldwide.

    The Bush administration’s domestic policy on abortion has been fairly lenient; it’s his administration’s initial restriction of emergency contraception, our nation’s best pharmaceutical weapon against abortion, that has been most significant. Our abortion rate would probably be lower today if the FDA didn’t sit on its hands for three years vis-a-vis EC.

    As far as Mississippi goes, I think the fact that we have only one, centrally located clinic is more determinative than abortion laws. If you’re in north Mississippi, you can drive to Jackson or you can drive to Memphis; most folks would pick Memphis. If you’re in south Mississippi, the same might go for New Orleans. So we’re really kind of fudging the numbers if we look at the 6.1% abortion rate in Mississippi without acknowledging the fact that as many as 60% of abortions by Mississippians actually take place on the other side of state lines.

    I believe that easy access to contraception, and widespread public education about its use, is the second best approach we have to reduce the abortion rate. The best approach would be to make abstinence a socially acceptable option again for teenagers who are living in an MTV culture that teaches that if you haven’t lost your virginity by 20, then you may as well commit suicide. Unfortunately, the current regime of abstinence-only education strips us of both options by making abstinence about as socially acceptable as explosive diarrhea while simultaneously teaching teenagers that safe sex isn’t worth bothering with because it doesn’t work. End result? We shouldn’t be surprised by the high teen pregnancy rate.

    Now, personally, I think a lot of the fault for all this does rest at the feet of corporations. I named MTV, and the fact that they don’t regularly broadcast one-minute PSAs on contraception use, given the way they promote irresponsible sex in their programming, is shocking. BET should probably do the same. I’m not saying the government should make them do it. I’m saying they should want to do it, and the fact that they don’t, and aren’t being pressured to by consumers, shows how screwed up our priorities can be in this country when it comes to sex.

  4. Now that I’ve taken a trip to Imaginationland with Tom, let me get back to the land of reality.

    How in the world can you say that Bush’s stance’s towards abortion have been lenient? I’m baffled as to how any sane person could believe that Bush’s policies on abortion are lenient.

    And let’s get real about this whole “let’s take a road trip to Jackson for an abortion” deal. How many poor people across this state do you think could actually afford to drive from Greenwood, Philadelphia, McComb, or any other city to Jackson to have an abortion performed? Poor people can’t afford the gas to drive to Jackson. They can’t afford to wait 2 days to have the abortion performed. They can’t afford to be away from their jobs long enough to have an abortion performed.

    And these poor young girls can’t travel to Memphis or New Orelans to have these abortions performed. Guess why. You got it: Bush’s “lenient” laws won’t allow for young girls to travel across state lines to have an abortion performed without their parents along for the 2-day-long, cost prohibitive drive.

    I highly doubt that Governor Barbour and Lt. Gov. Bryant will be in a big rush to suggest safe sex courses in Mississippi’s schools. The Baptists will be all up in arms over it. It’s a sad, sad state of affairs.

    And don’t go blaming MTV and the like for kids being kids. I mean, after all, we’ve all been there. It’s not MTV’s fault for teenagers having hormones and acting on them. And I’ve never seen an ad that says “Have Sex or Die.” And the whole “Save Sex For Marriage” is a bunch of garbage. It’s just not practical.

    Teenagers will know what works best for them. If they don’t want to have sex, they won’t. If they do, they will. Again, we just have to teach our kids how to do it safely and what the consequences could be should they not practice safe sex.

  5. Ryan, I’m scratching my head and wondering how you got all that out of my post. I’m beginning to wonder if you really did read it while you really were in Imaginationland.

    I’m a pro-choice activist. I make no bones about that. But most people who have sex aren’t ready for it, they’re being pressured into it by a culture that won’t take no for an answer, and then they’re quite often deprived, by life circumstances, of the option of carrying a pregnancy to term. MTV does bear responsibility for that. Not so much through the old videos, but through the nihilistic, pleasure-is-everything approach they have to their other programming.

    Yes, of course we need to teach safe sex. But we also have a responsibility to make abstinence a socially acceptable choice again. To do otherwise is little more than to encourage rape by inculturation. People should have the option of saying no without feeling undesirable, worthless, like failures. Churches are doing some good work in this area. The government’s abstinence education program, evidently, is not. Abstinence should be a major part of any sex-ed curriculum, but to make it the only part of the curriculum means that it applies only to the students who are already least at risk of becoming pregnant or contracting STDs.

    The Bush administration’s domestic policy on abortion has been fairly lenient. Can you name a single Bush policy that demonstrates otherwise? The differences between Bush and Clinton vis-a-vis abortion specifically have to do with Supreme Court appointments, which is not strictly speaking a policy issue, and the global gag rule, which is not strictly speaking domestic policy. If Bush and Clinton are otherwise indistinguishable on abortion in terms of their domestic policy goals, then I would say that Bush is fairly lenient in his domestic abortion policy. My point in all of this is to say that the drop in abortions has nothing to do with George W. Bush, just as the prior drop in abortions probably had nothing to do with Bill Clinton.

    Yes, people in remote areas of the state are denied the right to have a medically supervised abortion, but my point is that people for whom a trip across state lines is quicker and cheaper than a trip to Jackson are going to have their abortions done out of state. If the 60% figure holds, then the state’s abortion rate in terms of Mississippians who are actually having abortions would be 10.2%, not 6.1%. I’m not suggesting that there shouldn’t be more clinics; I’m just suggesting that the 6.1% figure is misleading because it only measures abortions that take place at our one little clinic in Mississippi, and not Mississippians’ abortions at the clinics in Tuscaloosa or Memphis or New Orleans.

    Teenagers do not always know what works best for them, as evidenced by the high teen pregnancy rate. We have a responsibility to use the media to teach responsible and ethical sexual practices, and instead we’ve adopted and propagated this weird Studio 54 idea that sex has no consequences and everybody’s doing it. Then we’re surprised when teenagers get pregnant or contract HIV.

    I’m also VERY concerned at the role that intoxication plays in teen sex. In Britain, a majority of teenage girls reported that they lost their virginity while drunk–and regret it now. Does that sound like a “pro-choice” culture?

    We need to do better.

    And we have to do better on many fronts. We have to make sure that abstinence is a socially acceptable option, and not just what the freaks do; we need to make sure that everybody, whether they practice abstinence or not, understands safe sex practices; we need to encourage a culture of ethical sex, and stop propagating the nasty rapist’s fantasy that it’s okay to get a woman drunk and take advantage of her; we need to mercilessly ridicule MTV and other media outlets that present sex as if it carried no more consequences than a game of tiddlywinks; we need to enforce statutory rape laws in cases where a much older man has sex with a 14- or 15-year-old girl; we have to make sure all medical options are safe and legal, prior to the viability of the fetus; we need to make sure that NO woman is pressured into having an abortion by an abusive spouse, controlling parents, or inadequate health care; and we need to make sure that we’re prepared to help new single mothers take care of their kids better than we do now.

    That’s a tall order, but that’s what I mean when I say “reproductive justice.” We need to get rid of ALL forms of oppression that come into play here, most of which are more significant and more oppressive than laws restricting actual access to abortion.

  6. By the way, Ryan, there is no law prohibiting minors from traveling across state lines to have an abortion. That law was proposed in 2006, but it never passed. Many of the young women who have abortions across state lines are, in fact, minors.

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