(Vision for Life) The 2019 PA Abortion Report is out. Abortions to residents of Pennsylvania increased from 28,240 to 28,796, or about 2%. In Allegheny County, there were 386 more abortions performed than the year before, an increase of 6.3%.
Vision for Life advertises in Allegheny County on Facebook to residents of the County. (Some of the abortions performed in Allegheny County would be on non-residents – people coming from surrounding counties and nearby states. They would not see our Facebook ads.) We also want to measure the effect of our advertising on all pregnant women considering abortion, so we don’t look at raw numbers so much: pregnancy rates have been going down, and we want to see what proportion of all pregnant women chose life. So we look instead at the ratios of abortions to births for residents of Allegheny County. Abortions to this group were up 8.6%, from 3,007 to 3,265.
A big wave on the beach, not the tide
There is no evidence yet of a statistical trend, and it is quite likely that 2019 is simply a bigger wave on the beach, and not the tide. Because the tide is definitely going out, as I will show below. The statistics for the rest of Pennsylvania indicate that this uptick is not local, but state-wide.
When we compare abortions to residents in Allegheny County to those to residents in Philadelphia County, where 40% of Pennsylvania’s abortions are performed, we see that both saw an uptick in abortion ratios.
More than 1 out of 3 pregnancies ended in abortion in Philadelphia County
It is shocking to realize that in Philadelphia County, more than 1 out of 3 pregnancies ended in abortion in 2019 (562 abortions per 1,000 births). In Allegheny County, 1 out of 5 pregnancies ended in abortion. Before we began advertising, that ratio was about 1 out of 4.
What else do we learn from the report?
Abortion patients are getting older
It is common for people to think that the average abortion patient is a teenager who made a mistake. There are, of course, some teenagers in that category, but most abortions are to adult women. The PA Abortion Report tells us that “more than 87 percent (27,221) of the abortions performed in Pennsylvania in 2019 were to unmarried women. The largest age group having abortions was 25–29, accounting for 9,529 (29.9 percent) of all 2019 abortions.” In fact, the trend over the last many years has been for younger women as a group to have fewer abortions, and older ones to have more.
The increase in abortions is entirely more abortions to women over 24
The increase in abortions in Pennsylvania in 2019 is entirely because of more abortions to women over 24. This has implications for anybody working in pregnancy help.
Fewer women without children are having abortions
While 2019 breaks with the trend, the abortion trend for women who have had no previous child, or have had one child only, is downwards. There is a slight increase, however, in the number of abortions to women who have had 3 or 4 children or more. This suggests that anxiety over finances and accommodation may be making abortion appealing to them.
High rate of multiple abortions
“First abortions” are a slight majority of all abortions again in 2019, at 52.6% of all abortions. “Repeat abortions” are almost half of all abortions.
What may surprise some is the high rate of multiple abortions. More than 1 out of 10 abortions is the woman’s fourth abortion, or more. Is abortion being used as a method of birth control here? Are there psychological problems that lead women to abort repeatedly?
The percentages have been generated by Excel using data for first and previous abortions from the Department of Health. For some reason, the percentages do not total to 100.
The death knell of the abortion industry
It is clear, however, that the trend with all abortions is downward. While 2019 is an outlier, the number of first abortions is actually declining faster than repeat abortions. This is the death knell of the abortion industry.
In Allegheny County the birth rate was positive or stable
The bottom line is that, though abortion ratios in Allegheny County and Philadelphia County ticked upwards, in Allegheny County the birth rate was positive or stable over the period.
Letting them know that they have a choice
This is good news. It shows that advertising for pregnancy help directs more women to pregnancy medical centers where they can see their unborn children on the ultrasound machine. About 80% of those who do, choose life. Advertising reaches tens of thousands more each month, letting them know that they have a choice, that abortion is not the only solution. The results are big enough to show up in birth numbers. We estimate that about 8,400 more children were born between 2010 and 2018 than would have been if we had not advertised the centers.
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Editor's note: Chris Humphrey is the co-founder and serves on the board of directors for Vision for Life of Pittsburgh which advertises for pro-life medical centers, and he is also a board member for Heartbeat International. This article was published by Vision for Life and is reprinted with permission. Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.