Iowa’s abortion rate continued its downward trend last year, despite Planned Parenthood’s controversial “telemed” abortion scheme – which was banned by the state’s Board of Medicine out of concerns about safety, but later reinstated by a judge after the abortion giant appealed.
Although abortion is currently easier to access than ever in Iowa – women in rural counties can simply teleconference with an abortionist in order to have abortion drugs prescribed remotely, without ever undergoing a physical exam – the state reported a 5 percent decrease in the number of abortions performed in 2013, according to new statistics released by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
In 2012, there were 4,648 abortions performed in Iowa. Last year, the number dropped to 4,397. The abortion rate has been declining in the state every year since 2007, when 6,649 abortions were performed in Iowa.
Pro-life activists credit their education and outreach efforts for the dropping numbers, as more Iowan women decide that abortion is wrong. In 2011, Iowan women were 43 percent less likely to abort than the national average.
But they also note that the figures released by the state may not accurately reflect the number of abortions performed on Iowan women, since some of those who do choose to abort cross into neighboring Nebraska to do it, especially those living near the border.
“Abortion statistics in Nebraska are showing large numbers of women from Iowa having abortions in Nebraska—many times more than women from Nebraska’s other neighboring states,” Iowa Right to Life reported in their latest newsletter.
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“In 2013, 129 abortions in Nebraska were performed on women from Iowa, compared to 24 from South Dakota, 18 from Kansas and none from Colorado that same year. In 2012, 185 abortions in Nebraska were women from Iowa, compared to 26 from Kansas, 24 from South Dakota and 1 from Colorado.”
The group speculates that women who are too far along in their pregnancies for telemed abortions may be crossing the border to visit LeRoy Carhart’s notoriously dangerous late-term abortion facility in Bellevue, where abortions are available right up until birth.
Despite the declining abortion rate, the birth rate in Iowa has not gone up noticeably. While there was a small boost in the number of births reported in 2013 as compared to 2012 – an increase of less than 1 percent – the birth rate has, on the whole, been declining since 2007. That’s a trend that Planned Parenthood is happy to take credit for.
Citing the organization’s aggressive promotion of long-term sterilization devices and other forms of contraception, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland’s newly-installed president, Suzanna de Baca, told the Des Moines Register, “Our goal is to help people have the education and the contraception they need to plan the pregnancies when it's positive for them.”
“But we never want to in any way suggest that having an abortion is a negative thing,” de Baca was quick to add. “That's a choice that every woman needs to make herself, along with her family and her doctor.”