Minnesota abortions continue decline

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, July 2, 2014

MINNEAPOLIS — The number of abortions in Minnesota fell again in the past year, dropping below 10,000 for the first time since at least 1975, state health officials reported.

The abortion tally has dropped in 11 of the past 12 years in the state. Minnesota clinics and hospitals performed 9,903 elective abortions in 2013, with 9,030 involving Minnesota women, the Minnesota Department of Health reported Tuesday.

Minnesota’s annual legislative report on the trend came a day after a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing certain businesses to refrain from covering birth control for employees if they have religious objections. Some abortion advocates predict the reduction in abortions could be short-lived because of the ruling.

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“When women have access to birth control, they can avoid unintended pregnancies,” said Sarah Stoesz, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota. “If we want to continue to see the number of abortions … decline, we should be making birth control more accessible, not less.”

Planned Parenthood remained the top provider of abortion services in Minnesota, performing 4,370 of the procedures last year.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a group that opposes abortion, credits anti-abortion campaigns and legislation for the decline. Had Minnesota enacted additional anti-abortion legislation this year, “even more women, teens and unborn babies would have been saved from the tragedy of abortion,” the group said in a statement.

About one-third of women who underwent abortions in Minnesota in 2013 reported that they were using some method of birth control when they got pregnant — though the listed techniques ranged from condoms to intrauterine devices to simply timing fertility cycles.