NC Abortion Profile Updated
Special Report - November 3, 2009
An average of 87 abortions a day were performed in North Carolina in 2008, according to the latest data released by the State Center for Health Statistics (SCHS). The annual report, “North Carolina Reported Pregnancies: 2008,” includes abortion data voluntarily provided by 24 licensed abortion providers in the state. Overall, a total of 31,882 abortions were performed on both residents and non-residents of North Carolina, according to the SCHS. The majority (99.4 percent) of abortions that were performed last year occurred in “non-hospital settings,” mainly clinics, while only 0.6 percent occurred in hospitals. Of the total abortions performed here in 2008, 5,215 were performed on residents of other states. The SCHS reports that the majority of abortions occurred in Mecklenburg County (32.8 percent), Wake County (25.1 percent), Guilford County (11.8 percent) and Orange County (10.4 percent).
A total of 27,234 abortions were performed on North Carolina residents in 2008, a 4.6 percent drop since 2007. This averages out to about 74 abortions per day in 2008. According to the SCHS, the average age of a North Carolina resident obtaining an abortion in 2008 was 25.7 years, and the average education level was 12.8 years. The majority of North Carolina residents who obtained an abortion in 2008 were unmarried (75.2 percent), and most abortions were performed at 8 weeks gestation or under (62.7 percent). A total of nine late-term abortions (i.e., abortions performed on women who are 21 weeks or more into the pregnancy) were reported to the state in 2008. As in previous years, the most common abortion procedure (44.2 percent) among North Carolina residents in 2008 was suction curettage, which involves dilating the “cervical canal” by “successive insertion of instruments of increasing diameter” and inserting a flexible tube that essentially vacuums out the placenta and unborn baby. The second most common abortion procedure (37.0 percent) was Dilation and Evacuation (D&E), which “involves opening the cervix (dilation) and using primarily sharp instrument techniques, but also suction and other instrumentation such as forceps” to evacuate the unborn baby from the womb. Medical abortion (non-surgical abortions, involving the use of abortion drugs, such as RU-486) accounted for 15.7 percent of resident abortions in 2008, according to the SCHS.
On a more positive note, the teen abortion rate in North Carolina continues a decline that began in the 1990s. Among 15 to 19 year-old residents, the abortion rate (i.e., the number of induced abortions per 1,000 women in this age group) was 12.5 in 2008, down from 14.3 in 2007. The overall abortion rate (among residents ages 15 to 44) was 14.4 in 2008, down from 15.1 in 2007. Much of this decline can be attributed to several factors, including (1) the decline in teen pregnancy rates that has resulted where abstinence from sex until marriage (AUM) has been properly taught, (2) the increase in Pregnancy Resource Centers (PRCs) that provide women with viable alternatives to abortion, and (3) the increase in available information about gestation and the abortion procedure itself, including the availability of ultra-sound machines that accurately show the developing life of the unborn child.
“Since 1995, the North Carolina General Assembly has failed to enact any new substantive pro-life legislation, despite the wealth of pro-life measures that have been introduced and reintroduced every year,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “With an average of 87 abortions being performed every day in our state, it is time for the leadership of the General Assembly to allow up or down votes on measures involving informed consent requirements and waiting periods for women seeking abortions to bills that would allow North Carolinians to purchase special license plates that promote life. All of these are common-sense measures aimed at protecting the women and children of North Carolina from the physical, emotional and psychological harm associated with abortion and promoting a culture of life.”
Copyright © 2009. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.