NRL News

Latest Minnesota abortion numbers are cause for both celebration and concern

by | Aug 9, 2016

By Scott Fischbach, Executive Director, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life

8weekunbornbabyThe new abortion numbers [the number of abortions in Minnesota in 2015 were the lowest since 1974 and down 2.6% from 2014] are fantastic news. Here are my main takeaways from the latest report—two positives, and then four areas of ongoing concern.


First, there is a clear long-term trend of declining abortions. The annual number of abortions in Minnesota peaked at more than 19,000 in 1980; we have now successfully pushed that number all the way down to where it was shortly after legalization in the early ’70s. The 2015 total of 9,861 abortions is the lowest since 1974; the abortion rate (abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age) is the lowest since 1973. Abortions have dropped in eight of the last nine years—a decline of 30 percent just since 2006.

Second, the new numbers further confirm the success of MCCL-backed pro-life laws. Minor abortions have plummeted 89 percent since Minnesota enacted its parental notification requirement. Thousands of abortion-minded women (1,692 in 2015 alone) have opted against the procedure after receiving basic information required by our Woman’s Right to Know law. And our Positive Alternatives program, which took effect in the summer of 2006, correlates to the recent nine-year trend of declining abortions.

The work of MCCL and the pro-life movement—not just legislation, but also practical assistance and pro-life education—has made a real difference.


Now let me focus on some of the troubling aspects of the report.

First, Planned Parenthood continues to increase its domination of the abortion market. The group performed a record 5,048 abortions in Minnesota last year, topping 50 percent of all abortions in the state for the first time. Whole Woman’s Health (WWH), a Texas-based abortion chain that arrived in Minnesota in 2012, was the second leading practitioner with 2,328 abortions, a decline from 2014.

Second, the percentage of abortions funded by taxpayers hit a record high of 43.3 percent in 2015. State funding allows the abortion industry to market “free” abortions to low-income women, increasing abortion numbers and revenue and compensating (in part) for the lessening demand for abortion. The incidence of abortion would be significantly lower if taxpayer dollars were not available.


Third, chemical (drug-induced) abortions using RU486 reached an all-time high of 32 percent of total abortions. These abortions are cost-efficient for the abortion industry, but they pose greater health risks to women than first-trimester surgical abortions.

Fourth, the number of abortions at 20 weeks gestation or later increased to 184 in 2015; the number of dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, which involve dismembering the unborn child during the second trimester, increased to 816. This is a particularly brutal method of killing children in the womb.

These concerns are areas that we have tried in recent years to address with legislation, and we will continue to do so. Many lives have been saved through the work of the pro-life movement, but much, much more work remains to be done.

Editor’s note. This update appeared in the summer MCCL newsletter.