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THE LAST WORD

Biggest single-year drop in abortion rate good news for life

Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 12:01 am

Let's all celebrate this news, can we?

Even those whose position is pro-choice should be glad that abortions fell 5 percent during the recession — the biggest one-year decrease in at least a decade and the largest single-year drop since the federal government started tracking data on the procedure.

That means in 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, some 38,000 more babies were allowed to live than the year before. Is anyone really disappointed about that?

In its annual abortion report this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said both the number of abortions and the abortion rate dropped by the same percentage in 2009. The abortion rate is the number of abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age.

Nearly all states report abortion numbers to the federal government. But it's voluntary, so a few states don't send data. For example, California — with the largest population and largest number of abortion providers — doesn't report data. Experts say there are more than 1 million abortions performed nationwide each year, but because of the incomplete reporting, the CDC had reports of about 785,000 in 2009.

The CDC's researchers found that abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age fell from about 16 in 2008 to roughly 15 in 2009. That's nearly 38,000 fewer abortions in one year.

Since 2000, the number of reported abortions nationally has dropped overall by about 6 percent and the abortion rate has fallen 7 percent.

Is there any really sane and decent human being who isn't honestly pro-life? I'm not talking about pro-life vs. pro-choice, but in the very real sense that nobody wants to see people die at any age. We as a nation work hard to preserve life in this country, and the decrease in abortions is an encouraging step in that direction.

Maybe the reasons for that decline don't fully appease the opponents of Roe vs. Wade, but as Allen County Right to Life Executive Director Cathy Humbarger told me earlier this year, the recent decreases in abortions, especially here in Allen County, are encouraging news.

The abortion rate in Allen County in 2009 during that 5 percent decrease was 10.9, according to CDC statistics. It went down to 10.7 in 2010 and 9.8 in 2011. There were 502 abortions in Allen County in 2009 (11,687 in Indiana). The number fell to 446 in Allen County in 2010 and 335 last year. And the state numbers fell to 9,553 in 2010 and 8,640 in 2011.

Some experts are speculating that the reason for the reduction in 2009 reported by the CDC is that some women believed they couldn't afford to get pregnant due to the tough financial times. And contraception is said to be playing a significant role in lowering the numbers. To those who oppose abortion, the bottom line is knowing that more babies are getting a chance at life.

Kerry Hubartt is editor of The News-Sentinel