Arizona Abortions Drop More Than Three Percent Despite Population Growth

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 23, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona Abortions Drop More Than Three Percent Despite Population Growth

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 23,

Phoenix, AZ ( — Arizona is one of the fastest growing states in the country but the population increase it has experienced has not led to an increase in the number of abortions there. Instead, the state health department has released a new report showing the number of abortions in 2006 dropping 3.3 percent from a decade ago.

Statewide, 10,506 abortions were done in Arizona last year compared with 10,868 abortions in 1996. The 2006 figure is a very slight increase over 2005, when 10,446 abortions were done in the state.

The 3.3 percent decrease from 1996 comes despite a 30 percent increase in the number of births across the state and a population growth that the U.S. Census Bureau calls the top in the nation.

The number of resident births exceeded 100,000 for the first time in Arizona’s history last year. The Arizona Health Status and Vital Statistics report for 2006 said the number of resident births doubled to 102,042 in 2006 from 50,049 in 1980.

The Arizona abortion rate went from 8.1 in 2005 to 8.2 in 2006 but remained the third lowest in the decade.

The state health department also reported that the use of the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug has leveled off and just under 30 percent of all abortions are now non-surgical. That’s been at about the same level for three years.

White women are most likely to use the abortion drug, followed by American Indians, and Asians. Hispanics are the most likely ethnic group to use a surgical abortion.

As in most states, women between the ages of 20-34 have most of the abortions while younger teenagers and older women are more likely to have an abortion when pregnant.

Abortions in the Phoenix area are on the rise, but they are lower elsewhere in the state.

Enough counties saw a decrease in the number of abortions on women residing there to make up for the 3.1 percent increase in abortions on residents of Maricopa County, the largest in the state.

Looking at some of the other figures, 60 percent of the abortions in Arizona are first-time abortions, which is higher than the nationwide figure of 54 percent.

Ninety percent of all reported abortions occurred before 13 weeks of pregnancy and about 4.3 percent of the abortions done in Arizona came after the baby was 15 weeks along.

In 1996, approximately 30 percent of all abortions were obtained by women with at least some college education. In 2006, women with some college education accounted for only 13.5 percent of all abortions.

With the drop in abortions, the number of births to unwed mothers is increasing, the Department of Health Services said as more women opt to keep their babies. Eighty-three percent of women who obtained abortions were known to be unmarried.

The pregnancy rate for Arizona teenagers 15 to 17 years old continued to decline to a decade low rate of 39.0/1,000 in 2006. The pregnancy rate among 18 to 19 year olds increased by 11.6% from 103.6/1,000 in 2005 to 115.6/1,000 in 2006.