By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
November 19, 2012
Two more things North Carolinians can be thankful for this holiday week — a drop in abortion in the Tar Heel state and a continuing decline in teen pregnancy rates.
According to the State Center for Health Statistics, 26,192 abortions were performed in North Carolina in 2011, down 15 percent from the prior year. Teen pregnancy (tracked among 15- to 19-year-olds) dropped 12 percent between 2010 and 2011.
Although the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign asserts that “most of the decline in teen pregnancy is because of increased contraceptive use,” Alysse ElHage, associate director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, pointed out that the historic decline in the state’s teen pregnancy rate has been consistent since the early 1990s and that the rate has gone down more than a third since 1995, when the General Assembly first passed the state’s Abstinence-Until-Marriage (AUM) curriculum. In fact, the teen pregnancy rate has declined from 63.1 per 1,000 in 2006 to 43.8 in 2011 and is a whopping 58 percent lower than it was in 1990.
“We hope that this latest report showing the sharp and continued decline in teen pregnancy and abortion rates will serve as a reminder to new and returning lawmakers that abstinence education works, and that it should once again be the focus of sex education in North Carolina,” ElHage said in a NCFPC press release.
Changes in the education law approved in 2009, which opened the door to so-called “comprehensive” sex-ed, including much more of a focus on all types of birth control, took effect during the 2010-2011 school year. More than half of the 15 to 19 year olds reflected in the 2011 state statistics would have likely already completed their sixth- through ninth-grade healthy living classes prior to the new regulations.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said he was thrilled to see the ongoing decline in teen pregnancy and is hopeful that it will continue. Even under the Healthy Youth Act of 2009, abstinence until marriage is supposed to be maintained as the expectation for North Carolina students.
“We believe it is clear that these strong statistics are a result of more than a dozen years of abstinence education, and we want to remind school systems who have eagerly embraced ‘comprehensive’ sex-ed that the new law requires that students complete the Abstinence Until Marriage curriculum before moving on to classes that include discussions of less effective but FDA-approved methods of birth control,” he said. “We also want to remind parents that they can opt their children out of any portion that they feel is inappropriate.”
As for the decline in abortion, Rev. Creech said it is sad when we’re celebrating that “only” 26,192 pre-born babies were murdered in our state last year, but that the 15 percent drop in abortion is certainly noteworthy.
According to the state statistics, the majority of Tar Heel women getting abortions last year were unmarried. Their average age was 26.2 and average educational level, 13 years. Only 12 percent of abortions were performed on ages 15 to 19.
“Obviously the goal for Christians in North Carolina should be to help young men and women make the right choices, abstaining from sex until marriage,” Dr. Creech said. “But if they don’t, we must be there to show understanding and love so that women facing an unwanted pregnancy will know they can get the support they’ll need to successfully raise the child or to make a plan for adoption.”
Incidentally, not all abortions reported in the state’s 24 clinics were performed on North Carolina women. Some 4,259 were on patients from out of state. Even so, this represented a 26 percent decrease in the number of abortions procured by women from beyond state lines in 2010.
“North Carolina’s 24-hour waiting period for abortions, part of the Woman’s Right to Know Act, went into effect in October 2011, so it may have helped decrease the number of abortions, especially those performed on women traveling in from other states,” said Dr. Creech. He noted that nearly 75 percent of those driving into North Carolina for an abortion in 2010 were from South Carolina, where a waiting period had been enacted in August of that year.
“It’s too early to tell how much the Woman’s Right to Know Act will help curb abortion, especially since parts of it are still tied up in court, but this certainly gives us hope,” he added. “We praise God for every rescue — that of baby and mother — when abortion percentages drop.”
To find out more about the statistics released this month, click here.