Abortion rates drop again

The rate of abortion has reached the lowest point since Roe v Wade, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute and the LA Times.  Disparities attributable to either race or income levels have become more stark, though, and the question of targeting minorities for abortion services will likely get more attention:

Although the overall U.S. abortion rate is at its lowest level since 1974, the drop has been far more dramatic for whites than for African Americans, who in 2004 had abortions at five times the rate of white women, according to a report released Monday.

The abortion rate for Latinas was about three times that of whites.

The Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based research group that supports abortion rights but whose statistics are generally respected by antiabortion groups, analyzed 30 years of data since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

The good news was that abortion rates fell across the board.  However, the drop was most dramatic among whites, while abortions for African-Americans and Latinas fell at a much slower rate.  Why?  The Times quotes one San Francisco expert as claiming that ignorance and poverty were the underlying causes. “Oftentimes, living in poverty they experience so many other challenges in their lives that they don’t always know that they’re eligible for family planning services or have transportation to services,” said Dr. Claire Brindis of the University of San Francisco.  Not so, says Day Gardner:

But Day Gardner, founder and president of the National Black Pro-Life Union in Washington, disagreed. She blamed the high rates on the number of inner-city clinics that performed abortions.

“It doesn’t have as much to do with poverty as that the abortion facilities are there, ingrained in the neighborhoods,” she said. “We as a community don’t talk about this. . . . This is a silent killer among us.”

This echoes a protest against Planned Parenthood in April by pastors and activists from prominent black churches, who see the abortion industry as a genocide targeting their communities.  Planned Parenthood got caught exploiting racist sentiments in their fundraising, which certainly lends itself to Gardner’s view.

Regardless of this particular controversy, though, this shows that the push against abortion has had a positive effect.  Fewer babies get killed through abortions, and that’s true of all demographics.  The most interesting aspect of this will be the effect it has on politicians who pay lip service to seeing fewer abortions while blocking any and all attempts to limit them.  Will they cheer this drop in abortions, or will they claim that it proves that more intervention is needed to ensure “access”?