August 14, 2012 — The number of abortions performed in Florida decreased by 20% from 2006 through 2011, but the figure is on pace to rise by 6% this year, according to data from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration and the Florida Department of Health, the Palm Beach Post reports.
The number of abortions in Florida peaked in 2006 at 95,586, state data show. By comparison, the total for 2012 could reach 82,000 if the pace from the first half of the year continues.
Rachel Jones, senior researcher for the Guttmacher Institute, noted that many factors affect the number of abortions in a state, including laws, unintended pregnancy rates and the availability of providers.
"If it's because fewer women are having unintended pregnancies, that is a good thing," Jones said, adding that increased use of long-term contraceptives and more precautions by couples to avoid pregnancy, especially during the recession, are tied to decreases in abortions.
Meanwhile, abortion-rights opponents said the decline suggests that more women are reluctant to have the procedure, which they attributed to laws that make obtaining an abortion more cumbersome. Mary Balch, legislative director for National Right to Life, said Florida's ultrasound and parental notification laws have discouraged women from obtaining abortions -- an assertion that Jones disputed.
The state's population dynamics also could be tied to the decrease in abortions, according to Stefan Rayer, a demographer with the University of Florida's Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Fewer people have moved to Florida in recent years, while the pace of people leaving the state has risen, he said. As part of that trend, the number of young people migrating to the state has declined, including women of childbearing age, Rayer noted (Maloney, Palm Beach Post, 8/13).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership