by Steven Ertelt
February 1, 2008
Harrisburg, PA (LifeNews.com) — New figures from Pennsylvania find that abortions rose 5.2 percent in 2006 despite new reports showing an overall decline nationwide. A leading pro-life group says the increase would have ben higher if not for pro-life laws and a statewide program that helps women find practical abortion alternatives.
According to figures released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, abortions in Pennsylvania rose to 36,731, a 5.2 increase over the 2005 total.
Still, because of Pennsylvania’s landmark Abortion Control Act, a slate of pro-life laws, abortions have declined 44.2 percent from their 1980 total of 65,777.
The law includes such statues as a parental consent provision, informed consent, and a 24-hour waiting period for abortions and Maria Vitale, the education director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation credits them with helping to cut Pennsylvania’s abortion rate almost in half.
"We are fortunate to have one of the most protective laws in the nation when it comes to abortion," Vitale told LifeNews.com on Friday. "Many lives have been saved as a result of Pennsylvania’s landmark law."
The abortion rate in Pennsylvania would also be much higher were it not for Real Alternatives, the state-funded alternatives to abortion program. From diapers to day care referrals, Real Alternatives offers comprehensive support to women facing unexpected pregnancies.
The program served more than 133,000 women and their families in Pennsylvania over the last 13 years and has become a model for the nation. In 2006, the number of clients served by Real Alternatives increased 7 percent to a record 17,874.
"Through Real Alternatives, lives are being saved and women are being empowered. It’s important for us to expand funding for this program — a program where we’re really getting our money’s worth," said Vitale.
Looking at the state abortion report, nearly all abortions in 2006( 34,393 or 93.6 percent) were done in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy. There were 247 abortions done after 21 weeks of pregnancy.
About 56 percent of the abortions were done on white women while 39 percent were done on black Pennsylvania residents and 6 percent were on Hispanic women. State residents accounted for 95.8 of all abortions done there with over one-third occurring in Philadelphia.
Some 17.5 percent of the abortions were done on teens with 6.2 percent done on teens under the age of 17.
In 2006 in Pennsylvania, there were 84 reports of complications during the abortion with the most likely problem an incomplete abortion. Another 11 percent of the problems included severe bleeding and six percent of the problems included infections.
As of December 31, the state recorded 100 facilities in the state that are licensed to do abortions there.