Abortion Rates Decline 2

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As I write this, the federal government has recently released their preliminary tallies of 1994 abortion statistics. They show the number of abortions once again declining from the previous year: from 1,330,000 in 1993 to 1,267,000 in 1994.

What are we to make of this?

Some say that this simply reflects the fact that their are fewer women of child-bearing age today, or that teen pregnancy rates are declining. These statements are true and are surely at least part of the explanation.

Others point out that, as a percentage, the decline is quite small. Thus, it may simply represent the usual "random noise" you always get when collecting statistics: one year it will be up a bit, the next year down.

From the babies point of view, perhaps the best way to look at the statistics is to ask, What is the average babies chance of being aborted? That is, if we count total abortions, a decline may simply reflect fewer pregnancies. So let's count the percentage of babies aborted.

Using data from the Center for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, January 3, 1997, Vol. 45 / Nos. 51 & 52, I come up with the following graph:

Note that this shows a slow but steady decline in the percentage of babies aborted, starting around 1980. After abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973, abortion rates soared. But the present rate is the lowest sine 1976.

This may not be cause for celebration: there are still huge numbers of abortions. But it may indicate that, slowly but steadily, Americans are having greater and greater respect for life. Maybe, just maybe, we're winning.

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Posted 16 Sep 2000

Copyright 1997 by Ohio Right to Life
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