Black N.Y. Abortion Rates Are High

Published August 15, 2008

Posted Aug. 10, 2008 – In most of the United States, 24 abortions are carried out for every 100 live births.

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In New York, 72 abortions occur for every 100 live births, Barrons.com reports. Though Blacks make up about 24 percent of the city's population, Black women were responsible for 45 percent of the city’s abortions in 2006.

The continuing boom in abortions – 90,157 were performed in the city in 2006, the last year for which statistics are available – apparently means that many women are using abortion as their birth control method of choice, officials say. That concerns health advocates, who point out that the procedure sometimes causes complications and is more expensive than contraception. The high rate also shows that these women are not protected against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

“No doctor would ever tell a woman that abortion was one of the choices she should rely on for contraception,” says Iffath Hoskins, chief of obstetrics and gynecology at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn.

The high rate is especially troubling because it indicates that more city residents are turning to abortion.

Years ago, most abortions in the city – up to two-thirds in some years – were performed on women from out of town who flocked to New York because of its liberal abortion policies. Now, however, 93 percent of the abortions in New York City are performed on city residents. The easy availability of abortions and not enough access to affordable contraception may be reasons behind the city's high abortion rate, experts say.

An average of 250 abortions are performed in the city each day at more than 200 clinics and doctor's offices. And even though free or low-cost contraception is offered through 59 publicly funded programs at 218 sites in New York state, mostly in New York City, more could be provided, says Deborah Kaplan, deputy commissioner of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

“To me, the problem is access,” says Kaplan. “If we improved access to contraceptives, there would be a reduction in abortion.”

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Written by BET-Staff

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