Minn. abortions showed slight uptick in ‘16

Published 8:39 am Saturday, July 1, 2017

By Jeremy Olson, Minneapolis Star Tribune

The number of abortions in Minnesota edged up in 2016, including procedures among teenagers, as economic hardship influenced more women’s decisions to terminate pregnancies, according to an annual report released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Health.

The number of abortions in Minnesota has dropped steadily for more than three decades, and the year 2016 was low by historical standards, but the total of 9,953 procedures was nonetheless an increase from 9,861 procedures in 2015.

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Abortions involving pregnant women 19 and younger also increased from 872 in 2015 to 898 last year.

Economic reasons were the second most likely to be reported by women as deciding factors in their abortions. But the number who listed economic concerns increased significantly, from 2,532 in 2015 to 2,865 last year. That is the highest number since 2012, when the state was emerging from the last national economic recession.

Almost 45 percent of abortions in the state were funded by public programs such as Minnesota’s Medical Assistance program for the poor and disabled.

The rise in teen abortions comes at odds with steady declines in Minnesota teen pregnancies, which public health advocates have credited in part to comprehensive sexual education programs that teach teens good decisionmaking skills. As a result of these two diverging trends, the rate of abortions per 100 live births among teen mothers was the highest in Minnesota in nearly two decades.

Abortions occurred mostly at five clinics in Minnesota, with 56 percent occurring at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota in St. Paul.

The total in 2016 still represents a long historical decline; the state reported more than 19,000 abortions in 1980.

Declines continued in the number of women who aborted pregnancies that occurred despite the use of contraception; only 1,629 such cases were reported last year, down from 2,395 the prior year.

—Story courtesy the Associated Press.