Taxpayer Funding Blamed for Rise in Abortions on Poor Women

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2011   |   10:17AM   |   Washington, DC

A major pro-life group is responding to the study released by a pro-abortion organization saying abortion rates have fallen for women as a whole but increased for women below the poverty line. The National Right to Life Committee blames taxpayer funding.

As LifeNews reported, the new study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology indicates the abortion rate has decreased in the United States — good news because it means more pregnant women are opting against having an abortion. However, the report presents news that should spark a drive to help more women below the poverty level find pregnancy resources and support because it indicates poor women are having abortions at a higher rate than before.

The new report was published by the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group formerly affiliated with the Planned Parenthood abortion business. According to Guttmacher, poor women accounted for 42% of all abortions in 2008, and their abortion rate increased 18% between 2000 and 2008, from 44.4 to 52.2 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44. In comparison, the national abortion rate for 2008 was 19.6 per 1,000, reflecting an 8% decline from a rate of 21.3 in 2000.

NRLC officials disputed Guttmacher’s claims that restrictions on abortion “disproportionately affect” poor women.

“Data showing an eight percent drop in abortion rates across the board from 2000 to 2008 are encouraging,” said Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., National Right to Life director of education and research.

“Guttmacher suggests that higher abortion rates among poorer woman and abortion restrictions are somehow connected, yet it’s a thesis that goes undefended,” O’Bannon further noted.  “How common sense regulations like right-to-know laws, which tell women about abortion’s risks and alternatives which are better for both them and their unborn children, and similar protective measures, are supposed to hurt poor women is hard to fathom.”

The researcher says the overall downward trend seems to indicate that such laws, along with the assistance provided by pregnancy care centers, which provide lifesaving alternatives to abortion, are enabling more women to choose life for their unborn child. However, several states – California, New York and at least a dozen others – publicly fund abortion for poor women with taxpayer money, which O’Bannon blames for increasing the abortion rates for poor women receiving the free or reduced-cost abortions.

“While the abortion industry saw declines among most demographic groups, it just happened to see growth among women for whom states were covering abortion costs,” observed O’Bannon. “The fact is, when tax dollars pay for abortion, you get more abortion.”

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), according to their own 2008-2009 annual report, showed over $1 billion in revenues, including $363.3 million in “Government Grants & Contracts” (an increase from $165 million in 1998).  At a time when the overall number of abortions has decreased, PPFA reports performing 332,278 abortions for the period covered in the 2009 report – accounting for more than 27% of all abortions performed annually in the United States.

O’Bannon noted: “The abortion industry likes to argue that high abortion rates are due to insufficient government funding for ‘family planning,’ but the record seems at odds with that assertion.  As abortion industry giant Planned Parenthood has received hundreds of millions of tax dollars each year, abortions at their facilities have steadily increased at rates that very nearly match their increases in government funding.”

“Ultimately, the report says less about pro-life laws and more about the aggressiveness of the abortion industry that, funded by tax dollars in many states, exploited poorer women during the recession and profited from their misery. If more women choose life for their unborn children as a result of pro-life legislative initiatives, the abortion industry knows that it will adversely impact their financial bottom line,” O’Bannon concluded.

The study also found that teen abortion rates declined 22%, from 14.6 per 1,000 in 2000 to 11.3 per 1,000 in 2008 among those aged 15–17. This age-group accounted for a small proportion of abortions (6%).

The research also validates the work pro-life groups have done to reach out to the black community, because of the tremendously high abortion rates in that ethnic group. Abortion rates decreased 18% among African American women in the same period, the largest decline among the four racial and ethnic groups examined by Guttmacher. Notwithstanding this decline, the abortion rate among African American women is still higher than the rate for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women: 40.2 per 1,000, compared with 28.7 and 11.5, respectively.

The study also shows abortion continues to become commonplace in the United States as it estimates that 10 percent of all women of reproductive age will have an abortion by age 20, one-quarter by age 30 and nearly one-third by age 45. Fortunately, the proportion of women estimated to have an abortion in their lifetime (by age 45) has been declining, from 43% in 1992 to 30% in 2008, as the overall abortion rate has declined.