Illinois Abortions Drop to Lowest Point in 30 Years, Some Credit Abstinence

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Abortions Drop to Lowest Point in 30 Years, Some Credit Abstinence Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 13, 2004

Springfield, IL ( — New statistics in the state of Illinois show a whopping 10 percent drop in the number of abortions performed last year. The new numbers take the state to its lowest number of annual abortions in thirty years.

According to the Illinois Public Health Department, 42,228 abortions were performed in the Midwestern state last year compared with 46,945 in 2002.

"I have no way to explain the drop," said Tom Schafer, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Public Health told the Illinois Leader. Schafer said the drop was not due to incomplete reporting of abortion numbers.

Libby Gray, director of the Illinois-based Project Reality, an abstinence organization, credited abstinence education with helping to lower the abortion numbers.

"Since 1985, the State saw the teen birthrate drop to a 20-year low in 2000," Gray told the Leader. "Then Gov. Ryan and public health officials credited abstinence training in the state as contributing to that decline. So it’s wonderful to hear abortions are also at a record low, meaning that if abortion rates have dropped and birthrates have dropped, something is changing in behavior."

Most abortions in Illinois occur in Chicago’s Cook County, which saw an 11 percent drop from 2002 levels. Gray said 29 abstinence education groups work in Illinois and many in Cook County.

In 1973, 32,760 abortions were performed in Illinois, and the number has never been that low since. The highest number of Illinois abortions occurred in 1977, with 71,326 performed.

The new report shows that fewer college students and college-aged women in Illinois are having abortions. Half of last year’s abortions involved women in their 20s and the group had the biggest decline in the number of abortions obtained.

According to the report, 38,700 abortions were performed on in-state residents and 3,497 performed on women living in surrounding states. Both numbers dropped significantly from their 2002 levels.

Most women who obtained abortions in Illinois, as in most states, were unmarried.

Related web sites:
Illinois 2003 Abortion Statistics –
Illinois Abortions Year by Year –