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.
“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.”