New Study Claims Abortion Rate Has Dropped: Minority Rate Still Disproportionately High

Tue Sep 23, 2008 - 12:15 pm EST

By Kathleen Gilbert

September 23, 2008 ( - A new report from the Guttmacher Institute, the research division of Planned Parenthood, claims there are fewer abortions now than there were thirty years ago, while admitting that minority abortions continue to run high.

The report says that in 1980 there were 29 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, and by 2004, that number had dropped to 20 per 1,000 women.

But the drop was unevenly distributed across the age and race demographic says the report.  "There’s been a shift in the population of women obtaining abortions relative to 30 years ago," said Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the institute. "They are older, they are more likely to be unmarried, more likely to be mothers, and they are more likely to be women of color." 

The study found that women who already have children are now responsible for the bulk of abortions, accounting for 60% of abortions in 2004, up from 46% in 1974.  And although abortion has dropped in all racial groups, it has done so much less drastically among minorities than among white women, with Hispanic children three times as likely to be aborted, and black children five times as likely. 

While some experts say the higher incidence of black abortions is due to their income, Day Gardner, founder and president of the National Black Pro-Life Union in Washington, disagrees. She says she blames the high concentration of abortion mills that are placed in black communities.  "It doesn’t have as much to do with poverty as that the abortion facilities are there, ingrained in the neighborhoods," she said. "We as a community don’t talk about this. ... This is a silent killer among us."

The study said that, among teenagers, the rate of abortion reduced by half, from 33% in 1974 to 17% in 2004.  The report emphasized that the drop in teen pregnancies began before abstinence education became popular, attributing the decline to more teens choosing to contracept.  However, the report also says that more teens are carrying their children to term, which suggests that teens choosing life accounts in part for the abortion drop.

The report says that about half of "unintended pregnancies" in America end in abortion.

Laurie Rubiner, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood, lauded the results of the report as proving that contraceptives are "the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies."

But Wendy Wright, executive vice president of Concerned Women for America, warned that the new report should be eyed with caution, since it was designed precisely to fuel funding for contraception and contraception education.  The Guttmacher Institute has not hidden this agenda, saying its mission is to "protect the reproductive choices of all women and men in the United States and throughout the world."

A report last year revealed that no studies had been able to prove that increasing the availability of emergency contraception reduces the abortion rate.  (See

  See related articles:

Drop in US Teen Sexual Activity Rates linked to Abstinence Programs, Says Top Researcher

New Report Admits: Emergency Contraception Does Not Reduce Abortion

Planned Parenthood’s Guttmacher Institute Said to Play "fast and loose" With Abortion Stats

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