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Reduce W.Va. Abortion Rate

February 5, 2014
The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Abortions are occurring much less often in the United States, according to a report issued this week. That is wonderful news - but, sadly, it is not true in West Virginia.

Not since 1973 has the abortion rate been as low, the Guttmacher Institute reported. During the last 20 years, the rate per 1,000 women ages 15-44 has dropped from 26.3 a year to 16.9.

Here in the Mountain State, the rate always has been much, much lower. In 1991, it was 6.4.

But by 2011, the rate had climbed slightly, to 7.

In truth, it is likely the rate is higher. As the Guttmacher Institute noted, West Virginia has only four abortion providers. Many Mountain State women may travel outside the state to have their pregnancies terminated.

Still, it appears that at a time when women all over the country are finding alternatives to abortion, the rate here in West Virginia is not decreasing.

Abortion may be the most controversial topic politicians can address - but West Virginia legislators should take a look at what, if anything, the state can do to reduce the number of abortions here. There were 2,390 of them in 2011, according to the institute.

Better efforts to encourage women to abstain from sex until they are ready for children - or to use contraceptives - may help. So may encouraging women with unwanted pregnancies to consider adoption.

Again, discussions about abortion tend to be fiery. But finding ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to encourage more women to carry babies to term, then place them for adoption, should not be controversial. State officials, working with health care providers, educators and social workers, should look into what can be done.

 
 

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