IS ABORTION ON THE RISE? Who's having them?

IS ABORTION ON THE RISE?  The number of reported abortions:  1973 -
744,600; 1985 - 1,588,600.  Percentage of pregnancies that end in
abortion: 1973 - 19.3%; 1985 - 29.8%

WHO'S HAVING ABORTIONS?  1st figure: percentage of abortions by
race; 2nd figure: percentage of all women by race.  White -
57.3%/75.2% Nonwhite - 29.9%/16.4% Hispanic - 12.8%/8.4%

1st figure: percentage of abortions by religion; 2nd figure:
percentage of all women by religion.  Protestant - 40.0%/57.9%
Catholic - 31.5%/32.1% Jewish - 1.4%/2.5% Other 2.9%/2.0%  No
religion - 22.2%/5.5%

Percentage of abortions by family income:  under $11,000 - 33.1%
$11,000-$24,999 - 33.8%   $25,000-$34,999 - 12.4% $35,000-$49,999 -
10.1% $50,000 and over 10.6%

REGRETS OR RELIEF?  98% of women who've had a legal abortion say
they would make the same choice again if faced with similar
circumstances.  91% report a sense of relief at having terminated
their pregnancies.

IS ABORTION USED AS BIRTH CONTROL?  Percentage of abortion patients
who *were* using a contraceptive during the month in which they
became pregnant - 51.3%.  By age:  17 or under - 39.4%   18-19 -
48.8% 20-29 - 51.9%   30 or over 58.8%

By birth control method:  condom - 28.6%   Pill 26.0% withdrawal -
11.1% diaphragm - 10.1%  sponge - 9.1% rhythm - 7.3%   foam - 4.0%
suppository 2.6%   IUD - 0.6% sterilization - 0.4%   other/don't
know - 0.2%

Percentage of women getting abortions who've had (1) no previous
abortion - 57.1%, (2) 1 previous abortion - 26.9%, (3) 2 previous
abortions - 10.7%, (3) 3 or more previous abortions - 5.3%

Each year, contraceptive users account for 43% of unintended
pregnancies (1.5 million).

WHY WOMEN CHOOSE ABORTION (note: 93% of respondents cited more than
one reason) Concern about how having baby will affect her life - 76%
Unable to afford baby - 68% Problems with relationship/not wanting
to be single parent - 51% Not wanting others to know she had sex or
is pregnant - 31% Not ready for responsibility - 31% Not being
mature enough or feeling too young to have baby - 30% Having all the
children she wants/children are grown - 26% Husband/partner wants
her to have abortion - 26% Fetus has possible health problems - 13%
Maternal health problems - 7% Her parents want her to have
abortion - 7% Being a victim or rape or incest - 1% Other - 6%

WHAT ABBOUT THE ADOPTION OPTION?  Number of children available for
adoption in 1972 - appx.  65,000 (primarily healthy infants of all
races).  In 1986 - appx. 51,000 (divided almost equally between
healthy infants and older/handicapped children)

In 1986, appx. 92% of women under the age of 19 who carried their
pregnancies to term kept their babies.  It's estimated that at least
95% of those women were neither married nor financially
self-sufficient.

ABORTION AND RELIGION Churches that are against legal abortion:
Eastern Orthodox, Fundamentalist/conservative evangelical, Missouri
Synod [Lutheran?], Mormon, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist

Churches that are for legal abortion:  Reform Judaism, Unitarian
Universalist, United Church of Christ

Churches that are for legal abortion, with qualifications (like
using abortion for birth control, sex selection, or "any reason of
mere convenience"):  American (Northern) Baptist, Conservative
Judaism, Episcopal, Orthodox Judaism (only in the case of severe
danger to the woman's health), Presbyterian, United Methodist.

=======================================================================

Each year, at least a half-million women worldwide die from
pregnancy related causes. Fully 99% of these deaths occur in the
Third World, where complications arising from pregnancy and illegal
abortions are the leading killers of women in their twenties and
thirties. The World Health Organization cautious that maternal
deaths may actually be twice the estimated figures.

In the Third World maternal mortality accounts for some 25% of
deaths of women aged 15 to 49. More than 3,000 maternal deaths occur
per 100,000 live births annually in parts of Ethiopia and
Bangladesh. By contrast, the figures in the United States and Norway
are 10 and 2, respectively. Each year over 20,000 women die from
pregnancy or related complications in Bangladesh, compared with
about 500 women in the United States, a country with more than twice
as many people.

Illegal abortion is one of the major direct causes of maternal
death. Forty-four percent of women in the developing world (outside
China) live in countries where abortion is allowed only to save the
mother's life. Another 10% live in countries where abortion is
totally prohibited. Sadly, millions of women unable to obtain a
legal abortion on the basis of life-threatening circumstances have
subsequently died from the complications of an illegal abortion.
Those who advocate restrictive abortion policies rarely acknowledge
this toll on women's lives.

Estimates of the annual number of deaths due to abortion
complications range from 155,000 to 204,000 women worldwide.
Abortion related deaths are especially common among poor and
illiterate women living in countries with strict abortion laws. In
Latin American, where legal abortion is generally restricted to
cases of rape or endangerment of the woman's life, up to half of
material deaths appear to be due to illegal abortions.

Three groups of women face the highest risk of pregnancy-related
deaths -- those at either end of their reproductive cycle, those who
bear children in rapid succession, and those who have more than 4
children. Women giving birth to children spaced less than a year
apart are twice as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than
those who have children two or more years apart.

At least half of all material deaths can be averted through a
combined strategy of family planning, legal abortion, and primary
health care. According to researchers Beverly Winikoff and Maureen
Sullivan of The Population Council, a fertility rate reduction of
25-35% resulting from more widely available family planning would
also lower maternal mortality by one fourth. Making abortions legal
and safe could reduce the toll an additional 20-25%. Making all
pregnancies safer through increased investments in prenatal health
care and reducing the number of high-risk pregnancies would prevent
another 20-25% of deaths.  Winikioff and Sullivan point out that
while, theoretically, this 3 pronged strategy could reduce maternal
mortality by 3/4, a 50% decrease is a more realistic expectation,
given prevailing social and political conditions, such as large
desired family size and the opposition to legalizing abortion.

...Above information quoted from "State of the World, 1988", A
Worldwatch Institute Report.

====================================================================

Try as it might, no government has ever legislated abortion out of
existence. Romania's Ceausescu's policies included a special arm of
the secret police force (dubbed the Pregnancy police) oversaw
monthly checkups for female workers. Pregnant women were monitored,
married women who did not conceive were kept under surveillance, and
a special tax was levied on unmarried people over 25 and on
childless couples who could not give a medical reason for
infertility. No Romanian woman under 45 with fewer than five
children could obtain a legal abortion. Despite the law, both
abortion and abortion-related mortality rates rose.  Recent
estimates indicate that more than 1.2 million clandestine abortions
were performed each year in Romania, as compared with some 1.6
million legal procedures carried out annually in the U.S. and we are
a country with 11 times as many people. One survey found that
Bucharest Municipal Hospital alone dealt with 3,000 failed abortions
in 1989; other sources indicate that well over 1,000 women died
within that city each year due to complications of botched illegal
procedures.

It is a myth that criminal laws will eliminate abortion, which
provides the underlying justification for the current crusade to ban
abortions. But why focus on banning on abortions when history,
repeatedly, in country after country, in culture after culture has
proved that laws cannot eliminate them -- in fact such laws only
drives it underground making it unsafe and costly and sentences
countless women around the world to an early grave, and makes
orphans of their already existing children.

In Latin America, abortion rates have been consistently high for
over two decades, despite restrictive laws and the firm opposition
of the Catholic church to any kind of modern family planning.
Because political and religious opposition has kept contraceptive
and family planning outlets to a minimum, the number of illegal
abortions is high and shows no signs of falling off in the near
future. Experts put the total number well in excess of 5 million,
but some claim the number in Brazil along may surpass 4 million.


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