WASHINGTON (October 9, 2002) -- A spokeswoman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Pro-Life Secretariat hailed a recent report showing a sharp decline in the nation's abortion rate.
"An 11% decline in the rate of abortion in this country is heartening," said Cathy Cleaver, Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat, "especially as we approach the 30-year anniversary of legalized abortion-on-demand in the United States."
"We can only hope that the decline reflects a growing national trend away from the culture of death epitomized by legalized abortion, and towards a culture that welcomes every human life and respects the dignity of all women," she said.
The report was issued October 8th by the Allan Guttmacher Institute, which is affiliated with Planned Parenthood. The report noted a sharp decline in the abortion rate in the last half of the 1990's. The rate fell 11 percent, from 24 abortions per 1000 women in 1994, to 21 abortions per 1000 women in 2000.
While the overall abortion rate dropped, the report also noted a marked increase in the rate of abortions for lower income women. In attempting to explain this increase, some have cited the oft-used explanation of lack of access to contraceptives.
Cleaver challenged this explanation: "Contraceptives have never been so widely available as they are today, throughout society. It makes no sense to cite lack of access as a reason for the rise in abortion among lower-income women," Cleaver noted. "Rather than speculate, one might look to the Allan Guttmacher Institute's own reports about the main reasons women turn to abortion -- 21% cite financial reasons."
"Women facing an unintended pregnancy want financial and emotional support. It is likely that lower income women feel this lack of support even more acutely," Cleaver said. "All women deserve better than abortion. What these numbers tell us is that we must redouble our efforts to provide resources and support to those women most in need."