NEW YORK, January 7, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A new report has found that 41% of babies in the womb were aborted in New York City in 2009 – a finding that has spurred local pro-lifers to redouble their efforts to lower the city’s abortion rate.

On Thursday a press conference was organized by the Chiaroscuro Foundation, which supports alternatives to abortion, in response to the report.  The Foundation has launched a new campaign and a website at NYC41percent.com, and have pledged $1 million for 2011 to cut the city’s abortion rate.

“Like it or not, the legality of abortion is a settled question in New York for the time being,” said Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation. “That doesn’t mean we have to accept the fact that in parts of the city nearly half of all pregnancies end in abortion.”

At that press conference the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s desire to welcome and support pregnant women.

“Any woman who is pregnant and in need can come to the Church and we will help you,” said Dolan, quoting a twenty-five year old statement from the late Cardinal John O’Connor.

Bishop Dimarzio of Brooklyn and Rabbi David Zwiebel also joined Dolan.

“So many have said abortion must be rare. 87,000 abortions in this city is not rare. It’s an abysmal failure,” Zwiebel said.

The report, recently released by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, said that of 225,667 pregnancies in 2009, there were 87,273 abortions.

As is common throughout the country, there was a major racial disparity, with the majority of abortions being from African-American and Hispanic women.  About 60% of African-American women’s unborn babies were aborted, 41.3% for Hispanic women, 22.7% for Asians, and 21.4% for Caucasians.

Archbishop Dolan, who serves as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the statistics “downright chilling” and said they make him “embarrassed” to be a member of this normally “cherished community.”

While New York is known for its hospitality and sensitivity to those in need, the prelate continued, “we are tragically letting down the tiniest, most fragile and vulnerable: the little baby in the womb.”

“We have to do more than shiver over these chilling statistics!” he declared.  “I invite all to come together to make abortion rare, a goal even those who work to expand the abortion license tell us they share.”

“Mother Teresa remarked that the worst poverty was to take the life of a baby so we could live, as we want,” the prelate concluded.  “New York does not deserve the gravestone, ‘Abortion capital of the world.’  Our boast is the Statue of Liberty, not the ‘Grim Reaper.’”

“Through our Catholic charities, our adoption services, our lobbying on behalf of pregnant women and mothers of infants, our support for life-giving alternatives to the decision all call tragic – abortion – in our education of youth for healthy, responsible, virtuous sexual behavior, our health care, — – we have done our best to keep that promise, … and these haunting statistics only prod us to keep at it,” he said.