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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-11-98

86% of U.S. Counties Are Without An Abortion Provider

A large decline in the number of abortion providers, along with a rise in effective contraceptive use, has been deemed the cause for the United States' abortion rate being the lowest in two decades, according to a study published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

The drop in providers is due to an increase in violence against abortion clinics and clinic workers. "When providers face harassment or violence from anti-abortion groups, and abortion is a very small part of their revenue, it may not be worth doing it," said Stanley Henshaw, author of an abortion book acclaimed by experts.

Between 1992 and 1996, abortions among women ages 15-44 dropped from near 1.5 million to 1.4 million. The rate of abortions has not been that low since 1975, when the rate was 22 per 1,000 women, equaling about 1 million American women. The rate in 1996 was 23 per 1,000 women.

Other Western developed countries still have much lower rates than the U.S. In 1995, Sweden's rate was per 1,000 was 18; 16 in Canada; 15 in England and Wales; and 6 in the Netherlands. Russia had 68 per 1,000 and Romania had 87 per thousand.

A decline in the number of facilities providing abortions totaled 14 percent in a four year period from 1992 to 1996. There are now 2,042 facilities providing abortions nationally.

Absolutely no abortion providers were located in 86 percent of U.S. counties. In rural counties, 95 percent lacked abortion services. Also, abortion was unavailable in 89 of 320 surveyed, or 27 percent.

The survey also determined that the greatest decline in services came from hospitals and physicians' offices, which now perform less than ten percent of all abortions.

While all states listed at least one provider, both North and South Dakota are especially vulnerable, with only one provider each.

Media Resources: AP - December 11, 1998


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