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Abortion Rate in America at 30-Year Low

Large racial and ethnic disparities among women seeking abortion

THURSDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The rate of women in America seeking abortion hit a 30-year low in 2004, but this trend masks disparities in abortion rates across various demographic groups, according to a report published in August by the Guttmacher Institute.

Stanley K. Henshaw, Ph.D., and Kathryn Kost, consultants to the Guttmacher Institute in New York City, compiled the report, Trends in the Characteristics of Women Obtaining Abortions, 1974 to 2004, and found that 57 percent of abortions are sought by women in their 20s, while minors account for less than 7 percent of abortions.

The overall decline in the abortion rate from 1989 to 2004 is largely accounted for by the drop in abortion rates of teenagers and women aged 20 to 24, the report indicates. However, the abortion rate among women aged 40 and above increased during the same period; the rate among women in their 30s remained largely unchanged. There has been a recent decline in abortion rates for all racial and ethnic groups, but there are still wide racial disparities, with the rates for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics and blacks standing at 11, 28 and 50 per 1,000 women, respectively, the research revealed.

"Further research on abortion in the United States should focus specifically on the circumstances facing women in the population subgroups with the highest rates of abortion and unintended pregnancy," the authors write.

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