Pennsylvania Abortions Continue to Decline, Pregnancy Help Cited

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 17, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Abortions Continue to Decline, Pregnancy Help Cited Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 17, 2005

Harrisburg, PA ( — Abortions in Pennsylvania are still on the decline, following a national trend showing abortions at their lowest point in some states since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision allowed virtually unlimited abortions. The new Pennsylvania figures show a decline of 2.4 percent in 2004.

According to new data from the state’s health department, Pennsylvania abortions went down from 36,030 in 2003.

Groups on both sides of the abortion debate disagreed on the reason for the decline, with pro-life organizations crediting an abortion alternatives program providing help to pregnant women and abortion advocates saying contraception use is the reason.

With some exceptions, abortions have been on the decline in Pennsylvania for over a decade.

The all time high for the number of abortions was in 1980, when there were 65,777 abortions. That’s twice as many as occurred in 1999.

Francis Viglietta, director of the Department on Social Concerns at the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, told the Patriot News that Real Alternatives, the pregnancy help program, is the reason abortions are down.

"I think a big thing, quite simply, is letting people know that there are alternatives available," Viglietta said.

Real Alternatives is the program funded with $5.3 million from the state’s Department of Welfare to provide practical help and needs for pregnant women who may be considering abortion due to financial or emotional reasons. The program began in 1996.

Though abortions may be falling, pro-life groups are concerned about some trends.

Maria Vitale, education director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, said she was troubled that 46 percent of abortions are repeats.

"We have women who are having two, three abortions over a period of time, and this indicates that women are using abortion as a form of birth control," Vitale said.

Looking at other states, Minnesota’s abortion numbers are down to their lowest totals since 1975. 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.