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October-09-02

Abortion Rate among Low-income US Women Increases Despite Overall Decline

A report released Tuesday by the Alan Guttmacher Institute finds that the rate of abortions among low-income women in the US increased 25%, despite an overall 11% decrease among women of childbearing age. The study, which sampled and surveyed over 10,000 women seeking abortions nationwide, also reported higher rates for women who were African-American or Latino, in their twenties, unmarried, and “economically disadvantaged” (making less than twice the federal poverty level).

The sharp jump, particularly in the context of welfare reform during the 1990s which cut back Title X family planning funding for poor women, “reaffirms that better access to health care, including contraception, equals fewer unintended pregnancies and fewer abortions,” said Planned Parenthood Federation of American president Gloria Feldt.

Just last month in Indiana, the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled in favor of an Indiana law mandating in-clinic counseling for women seeking abortions. Dissenting Judge Diane Wood argued that shifting the mandate from telephone to in-person counseling was unduly burdensome, particularly for women in rural areas where access to clinics is already difficult. According to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, 22 states mandate waiting periods for abortions. Mississippi, Louisiana, Utah, and Wyoming require in-person counseling.

Media Resources: Indianapolis Star 10/9/02; Associated Press 10/8/02; Kaisernetwork.org 10/9/02; PPFA 10/8/02; Alan Guttmacher Institute 10/8/02; Feminist Daily News Wire; Feminist Campus Student Action Manual

   

     

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