A new report [PDF] from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute finds that abortion rates in the United States rose in 2008 for the first time since 1990.
While this is disturbing news indeed, the report also offers great encouragement to pro-life activists, albeit unintentionally. The report also sheds light on the mindset of abortion advocates.
Why Has the Abortion Rate Increased?
Guttmacher reports that between 2005 and 2008, the annual total of abortions rose from 1,206,200 to 1,212,350, while the abortion rate rose from 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women to 19.6.
The study authors offer several speculations about why the abortion rate has increased: the economic recession, putting pressure on women not to take on the cost of bearing a child; a dramatic increase in the use of the medical abortion pill, which may be more palatable to some women than surgical abortion; and an increase in the number of abortion providers in some states and counties.
Planned Parenthood, Aurora, Illinois
The study doesn’t mention the massive expansion effort that has been underway since 2007 by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion chain.
For example, after Planned Parenthood opened the first of their mega-centers in 2007 in Aurora, Illinois—where I live and work—the abortion rate in neighboring counties rose significantly.
Report Shows Need for More Pro-Life Activism
The new study also tracked the incidence of pro-life activity at abortion facilities—what the authors call “antiabortion harassment.” They say that the vast majority of abortion clinics—88%—experienced some level of pro-life activity in 2008.
That’s an encouraging piece of news for a pro-life activist like me. I’m gratified to know that grassroots pro-life activism—protests, sidewalk counseling, prayer vigils and so forth—is going on so broadly across the country.
In the region with the most pro-life activism, the Midwest, the abortion rate declined 6%.
But that revelation leads one to ask: if all this pro-life activity is going on, why is the abortion rate going up?
The fact is, abortion rates haven’t gone up in the region of the country where pro-life activism is most common: the Midwest, where 85% of abortion providers report “harassment” (i.e., life-saving pro-life activism). Rates there have declined 6%.
An exception within the region is Illinois, where the abortion rate rose 9%. The opening of the Aurora mega-abortuary must be responsible for some of that increase. Another factor is the continuing non-enforcement of Illinois’ parental notice law, which makes the state a regional “dumping ground” for underage abortions.
The message here for pro-life activists is that we need to increase our numbers across the country—especially in the west and northeast, where abortion rates are highest and pro-life activism lowest.
What we’re doing on the front lines to save babies and their mothers from abortion is working. The Guttmacher authors tacitly admit as much, when they call for more laws against “harassment.”
Apparently Abortion Hasn’t Increased Enough for Guttmacher
It’s not only the presence of pro-life activists that the Guttmacher study complains about. They also, strangely, bemoan the lack of access to abortion services, pointing to the fact that 87% of U.S. counties have no abortion provider.
As their own numbers show, clearly the 35% of women who live in these counties are managing to make their way to an abortion facility. For example, the Illinois county in which my office is situated—Kane—does not have an abortion provider. However, just over the border in DuPage is the third largest abortion facility in the country. To say Kane county women have limited access to abortion is ridiculous.
Apparently the increase in abortion between 2005-2008 isn’t enough of an increase to satisfy Guttmacher. Despite the increase, they complain:
Access to abortion services is a critical issue, particularly since the number of abortion providers has been falling for the last three decades.”
This remark sheds light on abortion advocates’ mindset. A report about abortion rates increasing somehow leads them to conclude we need more and more abortion providers.
One must wonder, what level of abortion would satisfy them?
I pray we don’t get to find out. I pray that, instead, this report will galvanize pro-lifers to get out on the sidewalk outside the abortion centers to protest, pray and offer compassionate help to abortion-bound women. That is what’s working to reduce abortion in our country.
HT: Jill Stanek