Illinois abortion rates at 37-year low

January 25, 2012

The number of abortions in Illinois continues to drop. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports between 2009 and 2010, abortion rates decreased by nine percent.

Tom Schafer is with the agency and said he doesn't know why there are fewer procedures being done. He said his organization is in charge of collecting the numbers and not interpreting them. 

"You will see these numbers spun in all sorts of different direction. Everybody has their own opinion on this issue. It's very controversial," Schafer said.

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate say they're pleased with the drop in abortions, and both take credit for it. Ann Scheidler is vice president of the Pro-life Action League and said campaigns featuring women speaking about their abortion experiences are one reason for the drop. Carole Brite is president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Illinois and said increased availability of long-acting reversible contraceptives has made some of the difference.

Population growth in Illinois has continued to be well below the national average, and state's birth rate has been in overall decline for a decade.

In 2010, nearly 42,000 abortions were performed in Illinois. That's the lowest rate in 37 years.

This week marks the 39th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision.

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