Utah Health Department: Abortion Numbers Drop to 10 year Low

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 14, 2011   |   11:01AM   |   Salt Lake City, UT

A new report from the Utah Department of Health finds the number of abortions in the western state has dropped to a 10 year low, which is good news for the pro-life advocates who have put laws limiting abortions in place.

Although some observers expected the number of abortions to increase given the difficult economy, the health department showed there were 3,270 abortions in Utah in 2009, according to the latest figures available. The last time the number of abortions in Utah was this low was in 1999, when 3,160 were done.

The abortion rate, the number of abortions done on women 15 to 44 years of age, has also dropped to historic lows and the figure, 5.3 per 1,000, is the lowest in the state since 1980 and is well under the national average of 20 per 1,000 women.

Miriam Staker, administrator of the Utah Women’s Clinic abortion business, told the Salt Lake Tribune newspaper that the number of first and second-trimester abortions done at her business has dropped off since 2006. “Many patients, they don’t have the money to pay for the procedure. They may decide to keep it and put it up for adoption,” she said.

She admitted some women don’t have the $400-$2,500 necessary for an abortion and she said some of the women who are considering abortions wind up going to agencies that can provide them with prenatal care so they can keep their baby.

Lois Bloebaum, manager of the health department’s Maternal & Infant Health Program, also talked with the newspaper and said she thinks the drop in abortions is tied in with the overall drop in the birthrate in Utah. She also hopes the “Power Your Life” campaign the health department sponsored to help young women better plan and prepare for pregnancy has something to do with the reduction.

Looking at the data further, Salt Lake City led the way with 2,052 residents having abortions.

Last year, Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman signed three pro-life bills to help limit abortions in the state. They provide new protections for unborn children, require abortion practitioners to provide women with certain information, and establish a fund for defense of a future bill to ban abortions.