Alaska Abortions Drop, But Teen, Tax-Funded Abortions Rise

State   |   Patricia Coll Freeman   |   Feb 21, 2011   |   1:50PM   |   Juneau, AK

The overall number of abortions in Alaska dropped slightly in 2010, but the abortion rate among teens is rising, as is the number of abortions being paid with public funds, according to the annual report from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics.

The bureau’s figures are based on reports from abortion practitioners across the state.

In 2010, there were 1,715 reported abortions in Alaska, down from 1,938 in 2009 and 1,759 in 2008. But abortions on teens age 19 down to girls younger than 15, accounted for 19.9 percent of all abortions last year – up from 17.9 percent in 2009.

Since the state began reporting abortion statistics in 2003, there have been 2,928 abortions on girls 19 and younger, or 19.87 percent of the overall total 14,735 abortions in Alaska since then.


Bill Donovan, executive director of the CPC Anchorage, a local pregnancy help center, attributes the dip in the overall total abortions to “multi-layered reasons,” including the increased use of technology like ultrasounds. As many pregnancy help centers around the country, CPC Anchorage provides free obstetrical ultrasounds, administered by a trained ultrasound technician, to pregnant women considering abortion. Donovan said that most change their minds on seeing an image of their baby.

Ultrasounds, he said, show expectant parents that “as early as eight to 12 weeks, a baby looks like a baby, has a heartbeat and is not just a ‘product of conception’ so to speak, and so people are getting better information.”

In recent years, at least 20 states have passed laws requiring an abortionist to provide a pregnant woman an opportunity to see an ultrasound image of her unborn baby before proceeding with an abortion.


As to the rise in abortions on youth in Alaska, Donovan observed that teens and young girls are “very vulnerable” to the sexually permissive messages pushed by pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion business — particularly on-line, in Web sites like Teen Wire. He described the project as “propagating pornography” and promoting abortion as a fail-safe, which he called Planned Parenthood’s “bread and butter.”

In fact, in 2009, the national Planned Parenthood reported performing 305,310 abortions in its facilities — one-quarter of all abortions in the U.S. Its total income was $1.04 billion, 33.7 percent of which came from federal taxpayer-funded subsidies.

Meanwhile, pregnancy help centers like CPC Anchorage and the Catholic Social Services’ pregnancy support program offer free pregnancy tests, life-affirming counseling and material resources — and there are no financial incentives whether a girl chooses life or abortion in the end.

“We give them valuable information, we encourage them to involve their parents, we encourage them to choose life,” Donovan explained.

Donovan hopes the new state parental notice law, passed by voter initiative in August and that requires an abortionist to notify a girl’s parent before performing an abortion on her, will help reduce Alaska’s teen abortion rate — as such laws have done elsewhere across the country.


Increasingly, abortions in Alaska are paid with public money. The state reported that 42.3 percent of last year’s abortions were paid for by Medicaid funds, up from 39.5 percent in 2009 and 36 percent in 2008. Since 2003, Medicaid has paid for 5,569 abortions in Alaska.

Last June, Governor Sean Parnell vetoed an expansion of Denali KidCare, a state Medicaid program, after discovering the program pays for abortions on demand. On its Web site, the state affiliate of Planned Parenthood directs pregnant women and girls to the state- and federally-funded program in order to pay for their abortions.

“It’s a back-door that needs to be closed,” said Donovan, “because abortion has no place with kid care…it should be caring for kids.”


According to the state’s report, suction curettage was the most common method of abortion last year: 78 percent of the abortions were done by inserting a hollow tube into the uterus and suctioning the unborn baby from the womb. Almost 20 percent of abortions were performed chemically with RU-486, a high-powered drug cocktail that causes the unborn baby’s nourishing placenta to detach from the uterine wall and induces contractions.

According to the new state report, 1,688 abortions took place from the first week through the fourth month of pregnancy, as estimated by abortionists. Twenty-seven abortions were reported performed in Alaska at a point “not stated” by the abortionist.

For statistical purposes, Alaska state law requires abortion providers to submit reports on the abortions they perform, but Vital Statistics Bureau Section Chief Phillip Mitchell told the Catholic Anchor that regularly, up to six percent of the reports are submitted – and accepted – with incomplete information.

According to the Alaska Pro-Choice Alliance’s “Book of Choices,” there is at least one abortion provider in Alaska – Dr. Susan Lemagie of Palmer – who performs abortions up to 19.4 weeks – almost the end of the fifth month of pregnancy.


In fact, the 1973 United States Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade made abortion on demand legal through all nine months of pregnancy for virtually whatever reason.

But a unique human life begins in the first moment when egg and sperm unite. At three weeks, an unborn baby’s heart beats, and by four to five weeks after conception, there are pain receptors around the mouth and nerve fibers appear that carry stimuli to the brain.

The growing scientific evidence of the ability of an unborn baby to experience pain is leading to a flurry of legislative action across the nation. This fall, Nebraska’s legislature passed – 44 to 5 – and Governor Dave Heineman signed into law the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which generally prohibits abortion after 20 weeks gestation, the point at which an unborn baby has pain receptors throughout her body, and nerves link these to the brain. Note: This article originally appeared in the Catholic Anchor newspaper and is reproduced here with permission.