The Corner

Culture

New York’s Abortion Problem

(Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

Law and government ought to cherish and protect life and its continuation. That’s why shielding abortion — which ends human lives — insults the system. But politicians currently are fixated on making abortion still more easily accessible in the state that already boasts the highest abortion rate in the country: New York.

On Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton joined forces at a Barnard College rally to promote the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). As Jack Crowe reported for National Review, Cuomo has “no doubt” that conservative justices will enable the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 case that legalized abortion at the a federal level. If that happens, the RHA will fortify abortion right in New York state law.

But the bill doesn’t just preserve abortion rights early in pregnancy, which is legal in every state — it protects late-term abortion, too. With the passage of this law, abortions will be permitted “within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or [when] there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health.” And, according to New York magazine, not only will abortion “move from the criminal code to the health code,” but also “it will be easier for physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners to perform abortions.”

The bill states that New York’s “outdated” laws have “proved burdensome to women seeking to assert their constitutionally protected right to an abortion.”

But, looking at the numbers, current New York law doesn’t appear to discourage women from abortion at all. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent Abortion Surveillance report, for the year 2015, New York City performed 544 abortions for every 1,000 live births.

That means roughly one in three unborn babies are aborted in the city. That also means the New York City’s abortion rate makes up more than half of the city’s birth rate.

With the state’s voluntarily reported data, the CDC found that 63,646 abortions occurred in the New York City during 2015, with 32.8 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44.

New York — with the city and state data combined — saw a lower number in 2015. As a whole, New York performed 93,096 abortions total, with 23.1 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age. It counted 392 abortions per 1,000 live births.

The rest of the country doesn’t even come close to 93,096. The next-highest abortion rate is in Florida, with 72,023 abortions, then Texas, with 53,940. That’s keeping in mind that three states (California, Maryland, and New Hampshire) refuse to report their abortion statistics to the CDC. Those numbers could easily be higher. Meanwhile, the media praised the abortion rate in the CDC’s report for 2015, released in November 2018, for being at a “historic low.”

But it’s a historic low that is still much too high — especially when Americans stop and consider that each number represents a human life.

Katie Yoder is a content manager for National Review Online and a columnist for Townhall and CatholicVote.org.

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