Data released by the Michigan Department of Community Health showed a 12.4 percent increase in the number of reported abortions performed in 2013. The total number of abortions performed rose from 23,230, to 26,120. While the increased numbers are tragic, they are not unexpected and have predicted explanations.
A law passed in 2012 requiring abortion clinics to be licensed caused 5 abortion clinics to close in the early months of 2013. The location of those closed clinics corresponds with the four counties (Muskegon, Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland) that showed substantial increases in abortions, accounting for the increase in the number of reported abortions.
Those closed abortion businesses were suspected of violating the state reporting law. As those abortion businesses closed, their clients went to other abortion businesses; previously unreported abortions may be reported now. There was also a shocking 44.4 percent increase in late-term abortions (after 20 weeks), which may be attributed to better reporting and an influx of women from Ohio after abortion businesses in Toledo closed.
In Muskegon, Right to Life of Michigan identified anomalies in past abortion data. The sole abortion business in Muskegon was not reporting abortions for two years prior to being shut down for dangerous conditions. It is suspected that women from Muskegon County are now traveling to other abortion businesses that follow state reporting laws. Metro Detroit may be experiencing something similar, four clinics from that area closed in 2013 following passage of the Prolife Omnibus Act (PA 499).
The numbers could reflect an actual increase in abortions, possibly due to the especially difficult economic times Detroit is facing as the city undergoes bankruptcy. About 29 percent of the 2013 increase was reported in Detroit, despite the city having only 7 percent of the state’s population. Abortion continues to disproportionately devastate the black community, with more than 50 percent of all abortions being performed on black women, even though they are only 16 percent of the female population. Recent media coverage showing Detroit’s maternal death rate at triple the national rate proves that abortion fails to improve women’s health.
The trend of declining abortions committed on girls under the age of 18 continued. That number dropped to under 1,000 for the first time ever. In 2012, 1,035 minor abortions were reported. The reported figure of 971 in 2013 represents another 6 percent decrease. Since 1990, abortions among minors has fallen 75 percent.
Whether it is real increases or better tracking, we are deeply saddened by the loss of those additional 2,900 precious lives. While the overall trend of decreasing abortions is encouraging, this year’s increase and the annual overall numbers serves as a reminder that our prolife efforts must continue, because lives depend on us.
LifeNews Note: This post originally appeared at the Right to Life of Michigan blog.