Alaska: Teen Abortions Down, Usage of RU 486 Drug Increases

State   |   Patricia Coll Freeman   |   Mar 1, 2012   |   4:17PM   |   Juneau, AK

The number of abortions performed in Alaska, including abortions on teens, dropped in 2011, according to the annual report from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. The bureau’s figures are based on reports from abortion clinics across the state.

There was a total of 1,627 abortions in 2011, down 5.1 percent from 1,715 in 2010.

In 2011, there were 272 abortions on teens ages 15 to 19 years old; in 2010, there were 339. However, there was an uptick in abortions on girls under 15: there were seven in 2011 and two in 2010.

Since December 2010, a state law — passed overwhelmingly by voter initiative — has required an abortionist to notify a girl’s parent before performing an abortion on her. Although parental involvement laws have reduced teen abortion rates in other states, Planned Parenthood — the nation’s largest abortion provider — is challenging the law in court.

ABORTION METHODS

According to the state’s report, suction curettage was the most common method of abortion last year: 74.6 percent of abortions were done by inserting a hollow tube into the uterus and suctioning the unborn baby from the womb.

There was a slight rise in the use of RU-486, a high-powered drug cocktail that causes the unborn baby’s placenta to detach from the uterine wall and induces contractions. In 2010, 19.5 percent of abortions in Alaska were chemically induced; in 2011, it was 20.2 percent.

The drugs in RU-486 are administered across several days. After the second dosing, the woman or girl usually delivers the dead baby within about four hours, although 30 percent abort later.

GESTATIONAL AGES

According to the new state report, 1,491 abortions took place between the fifth week through the third month of pregnancy, as estimated by abortionists. There were 83 abortions on unborn babies between 3.25 to 6 months old. Thirty-eight abortions were reported performed at a point “not stated” by the abortionist; that’s up from 27 last year.

A human life begins the 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.

ABORTION LAW

In 1973 United States Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade made abortion legal in the U.S. through all nine months of pregnancy for virtually whatever reason. Since then there have been more than 50 million abortions.

For a copy of Alaska’s 2011 abortion report, go to hss.state.ak.us/dph/bvs/PDFs/itop/2011_ITOP_Report.pdf.

LifeNews.com Note: Patricia Coll Freeman writes for the Catholic Anchor, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska. This article originally appeared there and is reprinted with permission.