July 2, 2008 -- ST. PAUL (AP) -- Many women who got abortions last year say theworsening economy was one of the reasons for their decision.
There were 13,843 abortions performed in Minnesota in 2007. Ofthe women who listed a reason for their abortions, 40 percent citedeconomic concerns -- that's the largest share since the statestarted collecting detailed abortion information a decade ago,according to the state's annual abortion report.
"Certainly, women's concerns about being able to support theirfamilies are important," said Sarah Stoesz, executive director ofPlanned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota.
The cost of birth control may be another concern in a tighteningeconomy, she said, and could lead to unplanned pregnancies.
Women can list more than one reason for an abortion. The mostcommon reason cited was that a woman did not want children at thistime (10,190.) Other reasons included already being a single parent(1,024) and unfulfilled educational goals (886). Ninety-eight womencited rape or incest.
Abortions in Minnesota declined 1.5 percent last year, after anincrease in 2006. The 2006 numbers showed a 5 percent increaseoverall and a 16 percent increase among teens 17 and younger.
This year, the number of abortions among teens 17 and youngerdeclined, but the number of abortions among 18- and 19-year oldsincreased. The net effect was just four fewer teen procedures in2007.
Stoesz said the 2006 increase was a statistical anomaly, and the2007 decline was a continuation of a decades-long trend that hascome with the increased use of birth control. The economicchallenge in the future, she said, will be keeping birth controlaffordable and accessible.
Abortion opponents interpret the statistics differently. ScottFischbach, executive director of Minnesota Citizens Concerned forLife, said the 2006 increase was a problem - corrected in 2007 with$2.4 million in state funding for programs promoting abortionalternatives.
Considering the increase in economic concerns, he recommendsmore funding for alternatives, including programs that providewomen with housing, education and adoption planning.
"In so doing," he said, "we believe that the mothers andtheir babies will flourish."
Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press,http://www.twincities.com
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)