Why are Abortions Up in Louisiana, But Down in 48 Other States?

State   |   Louisina Right to Life   |   Jun 9, 2015   |   3:51PM   |   Baton Rouge, LA

David Crary of the Associated Press released an article focusing on the decline in abortion numbers in 48 states since 2010. Louisiana, on the other hand, was one of the two states where abortion numbers increased in that time span. Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, was mentioned in the story providing reasoning for the increase in Louisiana

An influx of women from out-of-state also was cited as a reason for Louisiana’s increase. Ben Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, said abortions for nonresidents jumped by more than 1,200 between 2010 and 2012, and suggested new restrictions in Mississippi and Texas were a factor.

In light of this article, Louisiana Right to Life has released the following comments from its Executive Director, in addition to further data on Louisiana’s abortion numbers.

Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, released the following after the AP story,

“We are thrilled to see that abortion rates across our nation have decreased, and that more babies are alive today than would have been in previous years!

“The article does point out that Louisiana was one of only two states where abortion rates have increased since 2010. However, there is important data that sheds light on these figures, including out-of-state women having abortions in Louisiana, and the impact of Hurricane Katrina.  Despite the disappointing first impression when looking at the numbers cited by this article, the overall pro-life trend in Louisiana continues.  We are happy that Louisiana has experienced a 12% decrease in abortions since 2004, and a 50% decrease since Louisiana’s record high abortion rate in 1982.

“Together with numerous pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and social service agencies, we will continue to ensure that resources are offered to women considering abortion to enable them to choose life for their unborn child. In addition, both educational and legislative initiatives are critical to ensure that a woman receives medical information about their pregnancy and unborn baby.

“It is essential to keep in mind, though, that the work of decreasing the abortion rate is made difficult by abortion facilities, since their bottom line is fueled by abortion income. The five abortion facilities in Louisiana sell only abortion. They are not interested in seeing a decrease in abortions.

“We will continue to work towards the day when the laws of our nation protect the unborn babies of Louisiana so that each of these children will have the opportunity to enjoy the blessings of the great state of Louisiana.”

Louisiana Right to Life provides the following data to further shed light on the nature of the Louisiana abortion figure.

Please note that, other than the total number of abortions, Louisiana Right to Life has not received complete 2014 abortion data from the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH), and that the 2013 and 2014 data is considered “preliminary.”  The Louisiana DHH publishes abortion statistics online.  Data on other years that specifies “out-of-state” figures was provided to Louisiana Right to Life from the Louisiana DHH on request.

Louisiana’s Abortion Numbers Remain Static Without Out-of-State Abortion Increases

Since 2010, according to data provided to Louisiana Right to Life from the Louisiana DHH, the number of women from outside of Louisiana having abortions in Louisiana has dramatically increased, resulting in an increase in the total number of abortions occurring in Louisiana.

Data to back-up this claim includes:

  • In 2010, 242 women from out-of-state had abortions in Louisiana.
  • In 2012, the out-of-state abortion number reached its highest at 1,458.
  • In 2013, 1,117 women from out-of-state had abortions in Louisiana.
  • In 2014, 9,932 abortions were performed in Louisiana, but the Louisiana DHH has not released more detailed statistics for the year, including number of out-of-state abortions in Louisiana.
  • If you omit out-of-state abortion figures from 2010 – 2013, abortion numbers among Louisiana residents increased minimally, even though Louisiana’s population increased (see below).
  • Data from the Louisiana DHH does not break down out-of-state abortion figures by state, so it is difficult to provide data that specifies the reason for the out-of-state increase. The most reasonable explanation has been the decrease in the number of abortion facilities in Mississippi and Texas.
2010 - 2013 Stats


Understanding The Louisiana Figures in Light of Hurricane Katrina

For consistency sake, Mr. Cracy of the Associated Press analyzed abortion figures in each state from 2010 to present. For Louisiana, however, when you analyze the numbers in light of pre vs. post Katrina figures, you find a significant net decrease in abortions. Even though Louisiana’s total population has increased since 2004, Louisiana’s number of abortions in 2014 is 12% less than 2004, which represents the full “pre-Katrina” year.

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Data to back-up this claim includes:

  • In 2004, the last full year prior to Hurricane Katrina, there were 11,330 abortions that occurred in Louisiana. In 2014, 9,932 abortions occurred in Louisiana.
  • After Hurricane Katrina and the decrease in Louisiana population, total abortion numbers decreased with the population, down to a low of 6,204 in 2006.
  • Since 2006, the Louisiana population has steadily increased every year. It was not until 2011 that the Louisiana population matched the pre-Katrina population of 2005. Louisiana abortion figures have increased during that time as the population has increased.
  • 2014 Louisiana population was higher than it was in 2005 prior to Katrina (4.577 Million in 2005 and 4.65 Million in 2014).