Friday, February 03, 2006

Want to lower the number of abortions? Promote and encourage marriage.

While looking thru Indiana's abortion statistics from 2003, I came across some statistics that baffled me a little bit. One of things that some in the prolife movement have focused on in recent years is the dramatically higher percentage of abortions that are performed on Black women compared to the population in general.

Indiana is striking example of this. Indiana's population is 8.4% Black yet Black women from Indiana get 27.4% of the abortions that are performed on Indiana residents.

What threw me for a loop was Indiana's "Termination Ratios by Age and Race". When viewing the graph you can see that termination ratios (TR) (number of abortions divided by the number of live births multiplied by 1,000) of Black women are higher than those of white women through every single age group but the difference becomes especially exaggerated in the 25-29, 30-34, and 35-39 age groups. In the 25-29 age group, the TR for Black women (346.3) is 5.5 times higher than the TR for white women (62.8). In the 30-34 age group, the TR for Black women (373.3) is 6.5 times higher than the TR for white women (57.0). If you factor out miscarriages, White women aged 25-34 from Indiana brought 94.3% of their pregnancies to term. Only 5.7% had abortions. On the other hand, Black women aged 25-34 in Indiana brought 73.7% of their pregnancies to term while 26.3% had abortions. In other words, for these age groups white women aborted only 1 out of every 18 pregnancies while Black women aborted 1 out of every 4.

The first thing that popped into my head as to why this huge difference would exist was marriage. Abortion statistics from various states usually show with common regularity that around 85% of abortions are performed on unmarried women.

In Indiana, the median age for marriage among Black women is 31. The median age for white women? 27. While 8.4% of Indiana's population is Black, Black women made up only 7.1% of Indiana's brides even though Black men made up 8.4% of Indiana's grooms.

These statistics certainly don't show a causal effect but it seems clear to me that a sustained effort of promoting and encouraging healthy marriages would dramatically lower the number of abortions in our country.

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