Abortion by the Numbers

ImageMargaret Talbot, writing in the Feb. 17th & 24th issue of the New Yorker, discusses the declining rate of abortions in the United States.  Talbot’s article is titled Reading the Numbers.

Citing last week’s Guttmacher Institute report, Talbot writes:

Particularly noteworthy was the increase in the number of low-income and poor women who use long-acting methods provided by publicly funded birth-control services. According to the report, between 2006 and 2010 “the estimated number of unintended pregnancies averted by federally funded family-planning program” rose from 1.9 million to 2.2 million.

Talbot writes that no one can say for sure why the abortion rate has decreased, but offers some suggestions:

  • The birth rate also declined
  • The economy — birth rates tend to fall when times are tough
  • Better contraceptives

Talbot rejects the idea that restrictive laws were responsible:

  • Rates declined in all regions of the country.
  • Rates declined in NY and other states that have not enacted new restrictions
  • The decline began before restrictions were enacted.

Talbot explains that while new laws have not been effective in reducing the rate of abortions, they have made it more difficult to have an abortion early, which most Americans agree is desirable. In particular, laws against abortion drugs which are convenient, close off one avenue for timely action.

Talbot concludes:

… when conservatives attack the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, or federally funded family-planning programs, they are working against the forces that are rendering abortion lees common. Undermining contraception and early abortion sabotages the future that most people want, one that express both their values and their common sense: fewer unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions, too.

© William Hungerford – February 2014

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About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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One Response to Abortion by the Numbers

  1. solodm says:

    Thank you for this piece.
    While the good news of the number of abortions are dropping, we see legislation in repressed states, forcing draconian laws on their female constituents. Arizona for example, in 2012, passed a law that includes the mandate: ” If a woman wants the cost of her contraception covered, she has to “submit a claim” to her employer providing evidence of a medical condition, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome, that can be treated with birth control.” Otherwise she may not get the prescription through her employer’s healthcare insurance. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/arizona-birth-control-bill-contraception-medical-reasons_n_1344557.html
    In Florida in 2012, Sen. Marco Rubio ” introduced a bill that could cut off birth control access for millions of women by allowing even non-religious employers to refuse birth control coverage as long as they cite a religious reason. In other words, if your boss doesn’t want to cover birth control in the company health plan because he says it would offend his religious beliefs, he wouldn’t have to—even if his Cialis was still covered. Rubio’s bill could also allow states to refuse to provide birth control through Medicaid, which provides family planning services to millions of poor women.”….http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/republican-war-birth-control-contraception

    There are too many other items to cite here, but the question remains – If abortions and birth control are both anathema to the Conservative ideology, why are they so opposed to giving support to those women whose lives they have seen fit to constrain? SNAP and WIC come to mind immediately, not to mention equal pay, so mothers could manage to take care of the children born.

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