Guest Columnist


The Pennsylvania abortion statistics are out. The report consists of 12 pages of different numbers.

We can look at the abortion numbers in many different ways. Overall, in 2007, there were 36,663 abortions performed in Pennsylvania. That is a decrease of 68, or 0.2 percent, from the year before. Although statistically that is not much of a change, any downward trend is worth celebrating.

Teenage girls age 19 and under had 6,557 abortions, or 17.9 percent, a slightly upward trend from the year before. This statistic ought to spark a debate about education. Could we do more to promote chastity among young people?

The largest group of abortion seekers is women age 20-24. They account for 12,365, or 33.7 percent, of all abortions. This is true not only in Pennsylvania but of abortion statistics nationwide. The single largest group obtaining abortions is college-aged women.

Of all abortions, 45 percent, or 16,482 terminations of life, were provided to women who had at least one previous abortion. More than 58 percent of abortions were provided to women who had at least one previous live birth. Abortion proponents often say that abortion should remain safe, legal and rare; but this troubling statistic suggests that some women may see abortion as merely a method of birth control. In 2007, 1,196 abortions were provided to women who had four or more previous abortions!

The ethnic background of women was also reported. About 55 percent of abortions in Pennsylvania were provided to white women. African-American women constituted about 39 percent of the abortions provided, and Hispanic women accounted for about 6 percent of the total.

The statistics also break down the number of abortions by county of residence, by weeks of gestation and by type of abortion procedure. All of it is informative, but it is interesting that the words “baby” or “child” appear nowhere in the report. The victims of abortion are never mentioned. The words “mother” or “father” do not appear either. The word “life” is not listed even once.

We need to put the 2007 Pennsylvania Abortion Statistics report in perspective. We must remember that the women and babies represented by these numbers are human beings. They are God’s children. They are unique and special inspaniduals. Each abortion represents a lost life and a woman scarred. In 2007, 68 fewer boys and girls were aborted than in 2006. If 68 lives were saved, by now they are learning to walk and talk. Let’s pray by the time they grow up to be mothers and fathers, there will be no abortions, let alone 36,663 of them.

To view the 2007 Pennsylvania Abortion Statistics report, log on to the Pennsylvania Department of Health web site at and click on “Health Statistics” then “Birth and Death Statistics.”

A. B. Hill is Communications Director of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference – the public affairs arm of the Catholic bishops of Pennsylvania.