The Washington state health department issued a report today saying the abortion rates in the state have dropped to a historic low. At the same time, teen pregnancy rates have dropped.
The agency noted that, for all women, aged 15-44, the abortion rate dropped to 16.7 per 1,000 compared to 18 in 2008.
Allison Cook, spokesperson for the state Health Department, indicated abortion rate for teens 15 to 19 was 16.6 compared to 18.7 in 2008.
Looking at the overall number of abortions, there were 22,642 abortions in Washington state last year, a decline of 6.7 percent over the previous year. That means there are fewer annual abortions now than at any point since 1985.
The state reached a high of 30,613 abortions in 1990 and the figure has declined steadily ever since.
The overall abortion ratio, the number of induced abortions per 1,000 live births, dropped 5.7 from 2008-2009 to 254 abortions for every live birth — meaning just over 25 percent of all pregnancies end in abortion.
The abortion ratio is also it a historical low since 1985, the state health department figures show. The highest was 41.3 percent of pregnancies ending in abortion in 1987.
The health department stats also reveal the teen pregnancy rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1980. The hit a high of 96 pregnancies per 1,000 teens in 1989, the rates last year lowered to 46.6 pregnancies per 1,000 teens. For teens 15-17, the rate was 24 per 1,000.
“The reasons for the decreases aren’t exactly clear,” the health department said in a statement accompanying the report. “Factors that could be at play include safe sex practices, abstinence, and increased availability and acceptability of contraceptives.”
But Dan Kennedy of Human Life of Washington had a more specific response.
“The drop in abortions gives further empirical evidence that the culture is shifting to a pro-life position, even in Washington State. As LifeNews.com has reported in the past, national polling indicates a slight majority now consider themselves pro-life. It is the new “normal“,” he said.
“This is a testimony to the perseverance of all who have been, and are involved in promoting a culture of life. We pray that this extraordinary, mid-term election will result in even greater opportunities to protect women and children from the brutality of abortion,” Kennedy added.
The abortion figures show most of the abortions done were on residents in state with 1,096 occurring on women and unborn children from elsewhere.
Pierce and King counties continue leading the state in terms of the residency of the Washington woman having the abortion. Thurston comes in third with Yakima and Snohomish following. [related]
While most Washington abortions were done earlier in pregnancy, up to about 12 weeks, 1,213 were done at 13-15 weeks, 782 were done at 16-19 weeks, and 531 were done over 20 weeks. Teenagers and women over 40 were more likely to have abortions later in pregnancy.
More than half of women getting an abortion in 2009 already had one child and about 40 percent already had had at least one abortion. More than 4,500 women had already had at least two abortions and, of those, 398 had had more than four abortions at the time of their abortion in 2009.