Reaction to recent article in USA Today about the overall decline in abortions
by Renee Rizzo, President/CEO of Hope Clinic for Women
Hope Clinic tries to stay away from political polarization. This allows us to be a safe place for all women in an unplanned pregnancy….regardless of where they stand on the issue morally, religiously or politically…. Because after years of experience I am learning stands can fall to the wayside, when it is YOU that the unplanned pregnancy is happening to. So please know that my response to this issue is not to create controversy but share facts, thoughts and how we at HOPE CLINIC FOR WOMEN are trying to meet the needs of the many women, men and families impacted in an unplanned pregnancy.
First this article shows that at least as of 2008, abortion rates were declining overall. In 1992, it was estimated that nearly 43% of all women would have an abortion by the end of their childbearing years. In 2008 that is projected down to 33%. And more Americans want more restrictions on abortion and a growing number of Americans wanted all or most abortions illegal. The Gallup poll states that “61% now would prefer abortion to only be legal in a few circumstances”.
Who IS choosing abortion?
Predominantly poor women (uninsured, underinsured). In fact up 18% with the general population at a decline of 8%.
Someone was quoted as saying it was because these women don’t have access to birth control. Honestly I just don’t buy that answer completely. Based on the 3,000 plus women who have walked through our doors in the last years, we learn they simply choose NOT to make birth control a priority and don’t use it consistently. (As they are carrying their smartphone in one hand and Starbucks in the other). Last time I checked they are still at every drug store on the corner. And if cost were the issue…how is it that they can’t afford birth control at less than $25 a month but can afford an abortion at over $500. It doesn’t add up.
I DO empathize with this population. They need to be better educated about the real risks of pregnancy and stds with sex. They do need access to medical care for both std testing and paps..and a chance to talk to a real doctor on a regular basis. And they need a chance to talk to a counselor if they want to change their risky behavior but don’t have the tools. I am grateful that at Hope Clinic we provide this information for free and provide medical std/pap testing for $20 and never let inability to pay stop a client from receiving our care.
Women in their 20s (predominantly 20-24); accounting for more than ½ of all abortions (in fact teen pregnancy is actually on the decline.
Regardless of what Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant and The Secret Life of the American Teenager….not everyone in high school is having sex and they are not our biggest risk population. Typically 75% of all teen pregnancies are 18 and 19 year olds. In fact there are more women over 30 having an abortion that those under 20.
While the abortion rate for Black women have decreased (by 18%) they are still more likely to have an abortion compared to Caucasian women. On the rise? Abortion among Hispanic women.
We are grateful that at Hope Clinic we see women of all races and have made incredible strides to have bilingual volunteers to help bridge the gap with this much underserved population.
Interestingly abortion is common among women who already have 1 child. I am sure a lot of that may reflect on how hard it is both mentally and economically to be a single parent. That is why I am grateful at Hope Clinic we offer our BRIDGE program for free for pregnant women and new moms…a chance to take classes, get professional counseling, gain needed life skills, have access to a mentor…in exchange for material assistance.
Here is the hard fact: most women who had an abortion said they have a religious affiliation (with 15% ‘born again’).
We know at Hope Clinic, women feel they have no other choice. The pressures, the fears, the shame, the guilt…all ring louder than the truth that there is hope, there is help, there is healing, and there is Hope Clinic for Women. (and places like us all across the country).
But I cannot end this blog without being thankful that we have been offering Pregnancy Loss counseling (past abortions, stillbirth and miscarriage) for over 20 years. We know how hard and long that decision can weigh on a woman. We want to be that safe place for her to process it …the best way for her.