Has the recession affected abortion?
The proportion of poor women getting abortions has jumped sharply, according to a new report.
The percentage of women getting abortions who have incomes below the federal poverty line increased from 27 percent in 2000 to 42 percent in 2008--an increase of almost 60 percent, according to the new analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit research group that is considered the best source of information about abortion in the United States.
There are likely a variety of reasons for the increase, but at least part of it is due to the recession pushing more women into poverty, the researchers say. Between 2000 and 2008, the proportion of women in the overall population who were poor increased 25 percent.
There have been a lot of anecdotal reports about the recession prompting more women to get abortions. Guttmacher published a study in the fall that found that financial concerns from the recession had prompted more women to delay childbearing or limit the number of children they have. But it remains unclear whether the recession has affected the abortion rate in the United States, which had been falling.
Beyond poverty, not much has changed in the description of women getting abortions, according to the new report. Fifty-eight percent of women getting abortions in 2008 were in their 20s; 45 percent had never been married and were not living with a partner; 61 percent were already mothers; 36 percent were white; 25 percent were Hispanic and 30 percent were black. Fifty-nine percent had at least some college education and 73 percent were religiously affiliated.
The report, which is based on a series of surveys of women obtaining abortions, for the first time had collected information about how women paid for the procedure. That has become a bigger issue because of the debate over coverage of abortion in the health care legislation. The survey found that about one-third had no insurance, about one-third were covered by Medicaid and about one-third had private insurance. Nevertheless, 57 percent of the women paid for the procedure out-of-pocket.
May 5, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: Abortion , Women's Health | Tags: Abortion, Guttmacher Institute, Reproductive health
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