Minnesota abortion rate jumps in 2006

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A report issued Monday by the Minnesota Department of Health shows an increase in the number of abortions performed. 14,065 abortions were performed in 2006, compared to 13,362 in 2005, a five percent increase. The rate of increase was even steeper among minors, with 793 abortions performed in 2006, as compared to 682 in 2005, a sixteen percent increase.

Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) CEO Sarah Stoesz indicated this may not be indicative of a trend.

“We don’t know yet [what caused the drop], because one year’s worth of data does not indicate a trend,” she said, in an interview with Minnesota Monitor.

Abortion in Minnesota 2006: By the Numbers

By Jeff Fecke

The report by the Minnesota Department of Health on abortions in Minnesota has a wealth of data. Here is a look at abortion in Minnesota by the numbers:

* Only about 6 percent of abortions were performed on minors in 2006. Indeed, more abortions were performed on women older than age 25 than younger.
* 17 percent of abortions were performed on married women.
* More than half of women seeking abortions had at least some college education.
* Less than half of one percent of abortions occurred after 20 weeks’ gestation, 92 percent of abortions occurred during the first trimester, and only one abortion of the 14,065 occurred in the third trimester.
* 57 percent of women seeking abortion had given birth to at least one child. 41 percent had previously had an abortion.
* 30 percent of women seeking abortions had been using birth control at the time they became pregnant. 65 percent had used birth control in the past, but were not using it at the time they conceived.
* Intact Dilation and Extraction, also known as “partial birth” abortion, accounted for just one procedure in 2006.
* One percent of women seeking abortions conceived as a result of rape or incest.
* 99.8 percent of abortion procedures resulted in no reported complications.
* There were 11.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44 in 2006, the highest rate since 2001. Still, that is significantly below the all-time high of 16.4 per thousand in 1979. The rate has not been above 13 per 1,000 since 1992.
* There were 14,717 women who received state-mandated “informed consent” information. 652 women evidently did not seek an abortion after receiving the information, about 4 percent of the total.

“It could be that the decline we saw over the past three years has bottomed out, and it can’t go lower. It could be a statistical blip, or it could be the result of something in the external environment,” she added. “But I doubt it indicates an increased preference for abortion.”

The Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), however, had a different explanation.

“Planned Parenthood has learned how to take advantage of teenagers and young women by marketing its brand and building relationships to create future abortion customers,” said MCCL executive director Scott Fischbach in a statement. The statement, issued by MCCL in response to the report, cited the opening of two Planned Parenthood mall locations that do not provide abortions as a reason for the increase.

“The spike occurred the same year Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota opened two suburban ‘express’ mall stores targeting young women with scented oils, candles and referrals to its St. Paul abortion center,” the statement said.

Stoesz said those were “wild allegations” not fitting the importance of the issue.

“It’s a shame that anyone would engage in overheated rhetoric and allegations,” she said. “This is why what we do and say is based on sound science and data.”

Stoesz added that she thought the legislature’s increase in funding for contraception could help lower the rate of abortion in coming years.

“Women who lack economic strength lack the money to purchase birth control,” she said. Noting that hormonal birth control can now run up to $60 a month, Stoesz said that women were often forced to choose between paying for food and paying for contraception. “When you’re making $20,000 a year, that’s a big chunk of change,” she said.

The report issued by the department of health lent some credence to Stoesz’s argument. 30 percent of women who had abortions in 2006 were using birth control, while another 65 percent had used birth control in the past but were not using it when they became pregnant.

Stoesz also indicated that abstinence-based education may play a role.

“We have data that show that abstinence-based education only works to delay the onset of first intercourse by a few months, but make it more likely for women to become pregnant and get STDs.

The MCCL’s Fischbach had a different take on possible causes. In his release, he said, “It is sad to know that many more women and teenagers are suffering, their lives and dignity cheapened by a predatory abortion industry.”