Ben Johnson

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In New York City, the abortion capital of the country, abortion rates drop precipitously

Ben Johnson
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NEW YORK, February 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The decline in the number of abortions performed in the United States has taken root in the abortion capital of the United States. There were nearly 7,000 fewer abortions performed in New York City in 2012 than the previous year, according to statistics just released by the city's Bureau of Vital Statistics.

There were 73,815 abortions in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available. That's down from 80,485 in 2011.

The abortion rate dropped precipitously. In 2011, the abortion rate was 42.2 per 1,000 women aged 15-49. In 2012, the rate was 33.4.

Overall, the report states that the rate of “induced terminations,” that is abortion-on-demand, has decreased 19 percent since 2003. “Nearly the entire decline has occurred in the past five years,” it adds.

“I have never seen such a dramatic improvement,” Chris Slattery, president of Expectant Mother Care/EMC Frontline Pregnancy Centers, told LifeSiteNews.

The numbers confirm a national trend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported last December that abortions had declined from 2009 to 2010. Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute announced that there were fewer abortions in 2011 than at any time since Roe v. Wade.

Slattery told LifeSiteNews the New York City report from 2012 “is pointing to an unprecedented decline nationally.” The Big Apple, he noted, “is the abortion capital of America,” the city with the highest number and rate of abortions.

The CDC report specifically noted that pro-life laws and the lack of abortion providers decrease the number of abortions. Both reports surveyed the national abortion rate before the largest number of abortion restrictions in U.S. history began in 2011-12.

Slattery took heart from the fact that the rates declined in 2012, a bad year economically.

Barbara Meara, chairman of New York State Right to Life, told LifeSiteNews there were numerous reasons for the city's dropping abortion rate, including “the publicity and the education we've done on the Women's Equality Act,” Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposal to permit late-term abortions performed outside hospital settings, as well as allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.

Restrictions on abortion passed in other states impact women in New York, and nationwide, Meara said. “All across the country we've been passing pro-life bills on parental notification, pain capable unborn child protection bills, requiring ultrasounds so that young women see their babies before they kill them,” she said. “I think the publicity from all of these things comes together to make people think more carefully about what they're doing.”

The dwindling number of abortion facilities and abortionists also played a role, she believed. “Fewer and fewer doctors are willing to do abortions. I think the Gosnell trial revealed just how terrible abortion can be, and is,” she said. “It makes people think.”

Finally, “young people are rejecting abortion these days,” she said. “The 18 to 25-year-olds are the most pro-life group in the country, according to a number of different polls.”

Slattery said crisis pregnancy centers such as those he runs have a hand in changing women's minds on the street, as well.

“We have a significant number of pregnancy centers serving substantial numbers of women in pregnancy every single year. We have contributed toward the decline, and so have other pregnancy centers,” Slattery told LifeSiteNews.

The Guttmacher Institute declined to comment on potential explanations for the decline, because it does not collect abortion data at the city level. The New York State Department of Health returned a first call but did not return a second call from LifeSiteNews by press time.

Although the rate has fallen, abortion in New York City remains astronomically high.

Analyzing data found in the "Summary of Vital Statistics 2012, Pregnancy Outcomes," 37.6 percent of all pregnancies among women who live in the Big Apple's five boroughs ended in abortion. However, that is a decline from 39.5 percent in 2011.

Despite the downward trend, two ethnic groups had a greater number of abortions in 2012: non-Hispanic whites and Asian-Pacific Islanders. White women in New York City had 9,550 abortions in 2011 and 9,704 in 2012. Asian-Pacific women had 4,308 in 2011 and 4,493 in 2012. The reasons for these increases were not readily apparent.

The state's pro-life leaders warn the gains the city has made would be reversed if the abortion expansion plank of Governor Cuomo's Women's Equality Act becomes law. He has resubmitted the legislation for consideration after it stalled last year.

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Meara told LifeSiteNews that abortion proponents seem determined to keep the Empire State a national haven for abortion-on-demand.

But the numbers from the 2012 report show that, even in the abortion capital of the United States, things are moving in the right direction.

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