Washington Records Lowest Abortion Rates in State History

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 30, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Records Lowest Abortion Rates in State History

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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 30, 2005

Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — The state of Washington is echoing a national trend and recent figures from the state health department show it recently recorded the lowest annual abortion rates in state history. Abortions on women in general as well as on teenagers are at their lowest points since the state started collecting data in 1980.

The Washington Department of Health reports that for all women of childbearing age, the abortion rate in 2003, the latest year for which data is available, was 19.3. For teenagers, the abortion rate was 21.5.

Approximately 23.7 percent of all pregnancies in the state of Washington end in abortion.

More than half of girls under 15 who became pregnant had abortions and nearly half of all girls 15-17 who became pregnant had abortions.

"The teenage abortion rate in 2003 is less than half the rate in 1980 and the rate among all women is nearly 40 percent lower in 2003 than it had been when it peaked in 1989," Phyllis Reed, the author of the report, said.

According to the report, 25,106 abortions occurred in Washington state in 2003 with 4,609 on girls between 15-19 and 8,534 on women between 20-24. There were 115 abortions on girls under the age of 15 years old — indicating abortions are being performed in the state on victims of statutory rape.

About half of the women who had abortions in 2003 had already had at least one previous abortion. Approximately 20 percent of Washington women had more than one abortion previously before their 2003 abortion.

In 2002, there were 25,446 abortions, and the 2003 figure represents a 1.3 percent decrease.

Teen pregnancy rates have also declined in the state.

In 2003, the number of pregnancies per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19 was 53.2 – the lowest rate seen since 1980 when reporting first began and the teen pregnancy rate was 95.4.

"This is good news," said the report’s author, Phyllis Reed. "A variety of factors contribute to the declining trend seen in teen pregnancies since it peaked in 1989 at 96 births per 1,000 women in that age group."

One of those factors, Reed indicated, included campaigns promoting sexual abstinence.

Last week, the state of Wisconsin reported that abortion rates there are at their lowest levels since 1974.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, there were 9,943 abortions in the state last year, less than half of the all-time high of 21,754 in 1980.

Other states have shown similar record declines in the number of abortions.

The number of abortions performed on Kansas women has declined 10% since 1996 and abortions in Kentucky have been steadily dropping for more than a decade with 3,502 in 2002 and 9,590 in 1991.

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.

Since 1988, abortions have dropped a whopping 53 percent in South Carolina. After peaking at 8,814 in 1991, the number of abortions in 2002 in Mississippi fell to just 3,605.

Related web sites:
Washington Department of Health – https://www.doh.wa.gov