Do poor women have more abortions?
Abortion rates have gone down in most groups of US women, but not among poor women.
The news about high levels of abortion use by poor women comes as the federal and state governments begin to make funding cuts that could limit this sector's access to family planning services.

The national abortion rate since 1990, with the overall abortion rate among U.S. women decreasing each year. The exception, however, has been poor women, whose rate of abortion increased in the 1990s.

Poor women and abortion

Between 2000 and 2008, the abortion rate among the lowest-income women climbed from 44 to 53 abortions per 1000 women.

The poorest women were those with a family income below 100% of the federal poverty line. By 2008, they accounted for 16 of every 100 US women ages 15 to 44, but for 42 of every 100 abortions.

One factor in recent years, said Rachel K. Jones of the Guttmacher Institute, could be the economic recession, which likely hit the poorest women the hardest. They may have been less able to afford contraception, or to support a child.

Whatever the reasons, Jones said the current findings clearly underscore a need to prevent more unplanned pregnancies among poor women. "We have not been improving poor women's ability to access family planning service," she said. "In fact, we've been making it harder."

What do you think are the reasons for poor women having more abortions?

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