Substantial Abortion Rate Drop Among St. Joseph County Residents
By St. Joseph County Right to Life | July 3, 2017, 5:02pm
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Newly released data from the Indiana State Department of Health’s (ISDH) annual abortion report shows that 161 abortions were performed on women from St. Joseph County in 2016, compared to 312 the prior year.
The report also shows that 0 abortions were performed in St. Joseph County in 2016, compared to 578 in 2015 (includes non-resident women). Two thousand sixteen is the first year since 1978 that St. Joseph County has reported no abortions.
St. Joseph County Right to Life’s Executive Director, Jeanette Burdell, attributes the remarkable decline to a few factors:
“With the closure of the South Bend abortion facility at the end of 2015, women had more time to consider their pregnancies before traveling out of town for an abortion. That’s significant when a woman is in crisis and the tendency is to be reactive. Abortion is life altering for both the woman and obviously for her unborn child, so time is a gift.
“However, clinic closures don’t usually result in such dramatic drops. Right to Life has worked diligently to meet these women where they are through media outreach, directing them to positive alternatives like adoption and help with parenting through local pregnancy centers and other resources. Our community is rich in resources, and women simply need to know about all the options and support.
“Still, 161 lives lost is 161 too many. St. Joseph County Right to Life remains committed to ending abortion in our community, saving precious lives and saving women from its lasting harmful effects. We’ll continue our outreach and education until the day abortion is unthinkable.”
Legislation may be another reason for the decline. Indiana Right to Life’s President and CEO Mike Fichter states, “The pro-life policies set forth by then-Gov. Mike Pence and pro-life leaders in the General Assembly made a life over death difference for Hoosier women and children in 2016. Indiana’s informed consent laws, including a 2016 private counseling provision in the Dignity for the Unborn law, are giving women accurate information about human development and abortion risks, and resources available for parenting and adoption. Real Alternatives, Indiana’s pregnancy and parenting support services program established by then-Gov. Pence, is empowering women to choose life.”
Indiana’s 2016 abortion rate dropped 8.5 percent from 2015. In 2016, there were 7,277 abortions, compared to 7,957 abortions in 2015.
Indiana’s abortion rate has declined for eight consecutive years. Abortions have dropped more than 33 percent since 2008. There were 3,642 fewer abortions in 2016 than in 2008. Indiana’s all-time high number of abortions was 16,505 in 1980.
Burdell states, “The national abortion rate has also dropped, now below one million per year for the first time since 1974. While we still have a long way to go in changing hearts and minds toward the reality and beauty of unborn human life, the national, state, and local trends are extremely encouraging. Our citizens are beginning to understand and value the gift of human life.”
The ISDH report is available here.