For the second consecutive year, the number of abortions in Minnesota fell below 10,000. This is a near-record low for the North Star State. With 9,922 abortions occurring in 2019, an annual report from the Minnesota Department of Health noted a general decline in abortions in the state that has been taking place for nearly 40 years.
The number of nonresidents who received abortions in Minnesota appears to have decreased as well. While in 2018, nonresidents accounted for more than 10% of abortions in the state, jumping by more than 1,000 over the previous year, 2019 saw a significant dip. With most of the patients coming from Wisconsin, the 888 nonresidents who had abortions last year were below the numbers from 2017.
Younger women accounted for a fraction of the total of women who sought abortions. In most cases, the women who had abortions in 2019 ranged from 20 to 39 years old.
“It’s an indication of the importance of having access to birth control,” claimed Lauren Gilchrist, an executive vice president for the Planned Parenthood North Central States chapter. Gilchrist and Planned Parenthood leaders in the state believe access to affordable contraception is responsible for a decline in abortion rates. However, the group Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL) disagrees. Instead, the pro-life organization has noted how the abortion rate fell from 2006 to 2013, and the group credits their efforts with helping the numbers to remain steady.
In addition to the life-affirming work of pregnancy resource centers, MCCL educates the public about abortion and actively lobbies for pro-life legislation. One of the laws MCCL credits with leading to a decline in abortions is the Woman’s Right to Know Act. Enacted in 2003, this law requires that a woman seeking an abortion must be given information about abortion risks, about her child’s gestational age, and about her right to medical assistance benefits and child support.
“Planned Parenthood continues to inflate abortion numbers in Minnesota despite a long-term pro-life trend,” said Scott Fischbach, executive director of MCCL. “Nevertheless, pro-life efforts are supporting women and saving unborn lives. Pregnancy care centers, pro-life education, pro-life laws like Woman’s Right to Know and Positive Alternatives—all of these are making a difference.”
Also important to note: from the first year Minnesota enacted its abortion reporting law in 1998 to 2018, abortions had fallen by 31%.
Dr. Michael New at the Charlotte Lozier Institute has refuted Planned Parenthood’s claims that contraception coverage within the Affordable Care Act prevents abortions. Not only do contraceptive mandates fail to reduce unintended pregnancies, they fail to lower the rates of abortion.
However, Gilchrist has pledged to continue engaging in an “ongoing fight not just to protect legal abortion but access to affordable contraception.”
As the number of abortions in Minnesota decline, a lawsuit is currently taking place in the Ramsey District Court seeking to strike down several abortion restrictions, such as informed consent and abortion reporting laws.
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