Pennsylvania Abortions Drop 3.9 Percent; Almost Half From High

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 3, 2011   |   2:14PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

Abortions in the state of Pennsylvania dropped 3.9 percent in 2009, according to new numbers from the state health department.

Statistics released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health show that abortions decreased last year in what a statewide pro-life group calls “an encouraging sign of the progress Pennsylvania has made in helping women seek alternatives to abortion.”

The figures show 1,523 fewer abortions in 2009 compared to 2008, resulting in a total of 37,284 abortions in the state last year.

Proving that legislation aimed at lowering abortions and programs like Real Alternatives designed to provide women with the kind of practice pregnancy help and support they don’t find at abortion centers like Planned Parenthood actually work, the 2009 total represents a 43.3 percent decrease from the all-time high of 65,777 abortions recorded in 1980.

“While every abortion is a tragedy, the fact that abortions are on the decline in Pennsylvania is good news for preborn children and their mothers,” Maria Vitale, Education Director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told today. “Lives are being saved and women are being empowered to make positive, life-affirming decisions for themselves and their families.”

Vitale says Pennsylvania has been a trailblazer in providing support to pregnant women and their families through the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program, which is administered by Real Alternatives, which experienced a record number of clients in 2009. The tens of thousands of women the program has helped have received everything from diapers to day care referrals as a result of this innovative program.

“Pennsylvania’s Alternatives to Abortion program is a model program that is delivering concrete results,” said Vitale.

“Women are receiving comprehensive, compassionate support which enables them to give birth to their children.  We know that Pennsylvania’s abortion rate would be much higher, were it not for Real Alternatives and the many other pregnancy resource centers throughout the Commonwealth,” she added. [related]

Vitale said the Federation is concerned about the repeat abortion rate, which now stands at 45 percent. That means nearly half of women getting abortions in Pennsylvania have had one or more previous abortions, indicating to Vitale that abortion is being used as a means of birth control. 

About 95 percent of the abortions in Pennsylvania done last year occurred in seven counties—Allegheny, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lehigh, and Philadelphia.  Philadelphia continues to be the abortion capital of the state, with 17,567 abortions there in 2009.