Friday, September 26, 2008
Research shows a major shift in Abortion Demographics
A new study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research organization, highlights a significant shift in the demographics of women who get abortions. The report also shows that abortion rates overall have dropped significantly. The study, which was conducted over the last 30 years, is the first comprehensive study on abortion demographics released since 1974.
The study shows a major decline in the number of abortions, particularly within the teenage and Caucasian groups. It was also noted that the decline in abortion was not seen as significantly in the Hispanic and older women demographics. "We've made the most important progress in reducing teen pregnancy and abortion rate, [rather] than reducing unintended pregnancy in older women," said Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, in a recent Washington Post article
These finding should be encouraging as they indicate that where there has been the greatest push for birth control, there has been relative success. However, the study’s findings also indicate that there is a greater need for efforts to extend to all women and not just among teenagers. "A lot of policymakers are stuck 30 years back when most women getting abortions are teenagers and college students, and that isn't so much the case these days." Jones says.
In addition, the study shows a less significant decrease in the number of Hispanic and African American women getting abortions. Laurie Rubiner, Vice President of Public Policy at the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, attributes this to the fact that affordable birth control is hard to come by without insurance. “Birth control is the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies," said Rubiner, "Unfortunately there's a large number of uninsured people in this country.” The discrepancies in abortion rates between these demographics illustrate a real need for affordable health care and access to birth control for minorities.