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New Report Shows Increase in State Abortion Numbers

Bastien Inzaurralde/

A new report shows the number of abortions among state residents up slightly last year, with one notable exception. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Abortions in 2013 hit 13,254, a 1 percent hike from the prior year. There also was an increase in the rate — the number of procedures versus the number of women of child-bearing age. But, among 18 and 19-year-olds the rate dropped by a third. And state Health Director Will Humble said teen pregnancies also are down. However, he said this may have less to do with who’s having sex and more that the morning-after pill is now available without a prescription. Cathi Herrod of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy said that may be right, as no one tracks teens getting what’s known as Plan B. But, Herrod said the fact the drug prevents pregnancy — and the need for abortion — does not make it a good thing for teens.

“The best choice for a teen girl is to have the baby and place the baby for adoption or parent the child. Neither abortion nor Plan B are ever the right answer to an unexpected pregnancy,” Herrod said.

The report shows an uptick in how many pregnancies among older women are ended by abortion. Humble said the reasons for this are less clear.

“There’s some evidence that economy has an impact on ratios, what people choose to do. If the economy is bad and they’re unemployed and they have challenges economically, some people are more likely to choose to have an abortion,” Humble said.

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