NRL News

What the new CDC abortion numbers tell us about abortion’s impact on minorities

by | Dec 5, 2013


By Randall K. O’Bannon, Ph.D., NRL Director of Education & Research

ScreenHunter_138 Dec. 03 16.45The abortion of a child of any ethnicity or color is a tragedy that impacts a whole nation. But one thing the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tell us is that abortion continues to exact a particularly devastating toll on minority communities.

As mentioned in a post from earlier this week, the CDC annual “Abortion Surveillance” for 2010 found a 3.1% drop in abortions from 2009, on top of a 4.6% drop from the previous year. (See “CDC Report Shows Decline in Abortions for 2010; abortion rates and ratios both down”)

Because the substantial decline in abortion across the board in the last twenty years (upwards of 400,000 fewer a year by the Guttmacher Institute’s more exact count), clearly raw numbers of abortions have gone down for virtually all demographic groups, minorities included. This is obviously good news and an indication that the drop that began in 1990 continues to the present day.

However what these latest numbers confirm is that declines seem to have been greater among whites than among minorities. Put another way demographic data from the latest CDC report clearly show that abortion continues to have a hugely disparate impact on minorities.

There is an important caveat: There are significant limitations in the CDC’s numbers. Several states, including the most populous, California, do not report their numbers to the agency. And even among those that do, the data is not necessarily gathered and sorted in the same way.

Not every state asks about race or ethnicity, so precision is difficult. But in the 28 reporting areas [1] that identified both race and ethnicity, 35.7% of abortions were performed on what the CDC refers to as “black” women, 21% were performed on Hispanics, and 6.5% were done on non-Hispanic women identified as being of “other” race or ethnicity (Table 12 in the CDC’s Abortion Surveillance for 2010).

This means that 63.2% of abortions in those reporting areas were done on minorities, or nearly two thirds.

Tallying up figures from the 2010 Census, minorities constitute 44.1% of the population: Hispanics (16%), Black (13%), Asian (5%), Native American (0.9%), Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (0.2%), “Other” (6%), or some mixed race category (3%) [2]

If 44.1% of the population is responsible for 63.2% of the abortions, unborn children in those communities are clearly under assault. It is obvious that abortion mills located in or near minority communities are doing high volumes of business.

It is possible, of course, that statistics from “missing states” could tilt the balance back towards the middle, but unlikely. While states not reporting both race and ethnicity to the CDC include predominantly white northeastern states like Vermont and New Hampshire, and Midwestern states such as Nebraska or North Dakota, other large states with significant minority populations such California, Florida, and Illinois were also not included.

If anything is likely, it is that the percentage of abortions to minorities is higher.

The drop in abortions across the board for all racial and ethnic groups shows that pro-life legislation, education, and outreach have had an impact, but these statistics are an indication that there is more work to be done in these particular minority communities.

Planned Parenthood and its allies in the abortion industry market themselves to these communities, doing Latino outreach, bringing in hip-hop celebrity spokespersons, offering themselves as allies to the poor, yet, not surprisingly, the presence of an abortion clinic has never done anything to “aid” these hurting communities.

In 2004, women, many of them minorities, told researchers from Guttmacher that abortion was not something they wanted, but was sometimes what they thought was their only option. For their sake, for the sake of their children, we need to make sure that minority women know of and have access to life-affirming and life-preserving alternatives.

Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight…

[1] The CDC uses reports from both state health departments and those from health departments in Washington, DC and New York City.


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