- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

CHICAGO (AP) - In a story June 7 about a decline in abortions in Illinois, The Associated Press, relying on incorrect information from the Illinois Department of Public Health, reported erroneously that the Illinois numbers were for surgical abortions only. The Illinois numbers include both surgical and medical abortions.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Abortion numbers fall in Illinois, mirroring national trend

Fewer abortions in Illinois reflect women’s contraceptive choices, advocates say


AP Medical Writer

CHICAGO (AP) - The annual number of abortions in Illinois is continuing to fall, reflecting a national trend and reaching the lowest point in a decades-long decline.

The latest figures show that there were 40,750 abortions performed in Illinois in 2013, which is 2.6 percent fewer than the 41,859 performed in 2010, Illinois Department of Public Health data show.

Women traveling from other states for abortions in Illinois raised the totals by approximately 3,000 abortions each year. Illinois has less restrictive abortion laws than neighboring states and shares borders with Missouri and Indiana, two states among the most aggressive in passing abortion restrictions.

Illinois does require girls younger than 18 to notify a parent or adult family member 48 hours before an abortion, unless a judge grants a waiver. Otherwise, Illinois abortion laws are considered unrestrictive compared with other states, and public funding is available for medically necessary abortions.

Nationwide, abortions have decreased by about 12 percent since 2010, according to an Associated Press survey of health data. The biggest decreases were shared almost equally by Republican-led states that have joined in enacting a wave of anti-abortion laws in recent years and states that have rejected such measures while protecting abortion rights.

In Illinois, teen pregnancy rates are falling, which may account for some of the drop in abortions. Abortion-rights advocates also credit education and increasing access to contraceptives. Abortion foes, meanwhile, cite changing attitudes toward terminating a pregnancy.

“This is the most pro-life generation we’ve seen in history,” said Emily Zender of Illinois Right to Life. Illinois has more than 50 pregnancy resource centers that offer counseling about alternatives to abortion, Zender said.

Two Illinois abortion clinics closed in recent years following a sweep of state inspections. Abortion-rights advocates believe women who would have visited those now-closed clinics found abortions available elsewhere. Women in Rockford, for example, where a clinic closed in 2011 following health and safety violations, can obtain abortions in Madison, Wisconsin.

“Women are still obtaining abortions,” said Carole Brite of Planned Parenthood of Illinois. “They have had to travel greater distances and incur greater expense to do so.”

What’s shifting the abortion numbers downward, Brite said, is women choosing the most effective forms of birth control such as intrauterine devices and hormonal implants. Illinois Planned Parenthood centers report a 111 percent increase between 2010 and 2013 in the use of IUDs and implants.

The Affordable Care Act boosted the trend because it requires contraceptive coverage without out-of-pocket costs for women, said Lee Hasselbacher, policy coordinator for family planning and contraceptive research at the University of Chicago. And Illinois has urged doctors to make sure women covered by Medicaid receive information on all approved birth control methods with emphasis on presenting the most effective methods first, specifically IUDs and implants.

“In Illinois, it’s a combination of education and awareness of the diverse array of contraceptives available among providers, family planning services and women, particularly young women,” Hasselbacher said. “Women succeed when they find a method they like.”


AP Medical Writer Carla K. Johnson can be reached at https://twitter.com/CarlaKJohnson

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