Pennsylvania Abortions Drop in 2010, 535 on Underage Girls

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 30, 2011   |   2:57PM   |   Harrisburg, PA

A new report from the Pennsylvania state health department shows the number of abortions done in the state dropped from 2009-2010, a decline of 1.4 percent.

In 2010, there were 36,778 abortions performed in Pennsylvania and the figure is a 44.1 percent decrease from the 1980 total of 65,777 (the highest annual number ever recorded in the Keystone state). The 2010 figure represents a decrease of 506 or 1.4 percent from the 37,284 that occurred in 2009. The lowest annual number of abortions occurred in 1999 (34,494).

The state health department shows nearly all abortions in 2010 (34,207 or 93.0 percent) were performed in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy (first trimester) and about 52 percent of all abortions performed in Pennsylvania were to white women and 15,393 or 42.0 percent were to black women — even though black women account for a smaller percentage of the state population as a whole. Abortions to women of Hispanic origin (regardless of race) accounted for 2,880 or 7.8 percent of all abortions in 2010.

Over 87 percent or 32,238 of the abortions performed in Pennsylvania in 2010 were to unmarried women.

Looking at the breakdown by age, girls aged 19 and under accounted for 16.1 percent or 5,918 of the 2010 abortions performed in Pennsylvania. Teenagers age 17 and younger accounted for 5.4 percent or 1,971 of the 2010 abortions. The 2009 percentage for teenagers under 18 was similar at 6.0.

Six abortions were done on girls aged 12 or younger, 41 on girls aged 13, 143 on girls aged 14, and 345 on 15-year-olds — all done before girls are able to give consent for sexual relations. That means 535 abortions were done on victims of statutory rape.

Of all the abortions that occurred in 2010 in Pennsylvania, 35,227 or 95.8 percent were performed on residents. The 2009 figure was similar at 95.7 percent. Residents of other states, territories and other countries accounted for 1,551 abortions in 2010, compared to 1,600 in 2009.

Of the women getting abortions who resided in Pennsylvania, 14,731 or 41.8 percent were residents of Philadelphia. Other counties with a large number of resident abortions included Allegheny, 4,079; Delaware, 1,749; Montgomery, 1,706; and Berks, 1,323. Of all 67 counties, 36 (53.7 percent) showed a decrease in the number of resident abortions performed in 2010 compared to 2009. Of the abortions performed in 2010 in Pennsylvania, 97.7 percent occurred in eight counties — Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lehigh and Philadelphia.

In 2010, there were 61 reports of complications from abortions which were submitted by abortion practitioners, representing 29.8 percent more than the 47 reported in 2009. Almost 69 percent of the complications in 2010 were related to incomplete abortions where parts of the unborn baby remained in the mother after the botched abortion. Another 19.7 percent of complications related to infections and 9.8 percent to excessive bleeding.

As of December 31, 2010, there were 65 licensed hospitals in the commonwealth that performed abortions in 2010 and 22 non-hospital facilities registered with the Department of Health to perform abortions, as required by the Abortion Control Act.

The source for the number of abortions reported in Pennsylvania in 2010 is the “Report of Induced Termination of Pregnancy”, which is an individual report filed for each abortion. The source for the complications data is “Abortions: Report of Complications”, a separate reporting form completed by physicians who have provided medical care to a woman because of a complication resulting from an abortion or attempted abortion.