2015 abortion statistics for Nebraska

 Friday, 22 July 2016

Under Nebraska state law, every abortion performed in our state must be reported by the attending abortionist through an abortion reporting form to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The abortion reporting form submitted to DHHS includes a variety of information (e.g., age of the mother, type of procedure performed, reason for the abortion, etc.). DHHS compiles this information and issues an annual report. These annual reports date back to 1974. Recently, the DHHS issued its “2015 Statistical Report of Abortions” (full report available at http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/pages/ced_vs.aspx).

The annual report offers an opportunity—as difficult as it is to read through an account of lives lost—to better understand the state of abortion in Nebraska. This article looks at some of the categories of information provided in the report.

Total Number of Abortions. The Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities regrets to inform you that 2,004 babies were killed by induced abortions in 2015. This number represents an 11% decrease when compared to the 2014 total of 2,270, and a 68% decrease when compared to the 1990 total of 6,346 which represents the high water mark for abortions in Nebraska. While we thank God for this steady decrease, there is no doubt we are called to mourn the lost lives, to beg the Divine Physician for the healing of the mothers, fathers, and families who have been affected, and to remain prayerfully vigilant and determined in our defense of the dignity of human life.

Mother’s Age. The modal age—the age at which most abortions occurred—was 25. Typically, the modal age has been between 21 to 23. Young women between 20 and 29 accounted for nearly 60% (1,154) of abortions. Nearly 30% (583) of abortions occurred with women between 30 and 39. Another 10% of abortions were had by teenage girls between the 15 and 19. Most saddening was the fact that seven girls under 15 had abortions, with the youngest being 12 years old. The remainder of abortions (66) was with women over 40 years old.

First-Time & Repeat Abortions. The majority of abortions were first-time abortions, totaling slightly above 60% (1,250) of abortions. Another 25% (503) were second-time abortions. Just over 12% (251) of abortions were performed on woman who had three or more previous abortions.

Reasons for Abortions. The reasons for abortion varied, but the top three reasons were no contraception used (46%), contraceptive failure (14%), and socioeconomic (11%). In 25% of abortions the mother declined to provide a reason. The remaining 5% of abortions occurred because of maternal physical health (41), mental health (21), fetal anomaly (15), sexual assault (10), and maternal life endangered (7).

Abortion Procedures Used. Most abortions were the result of one of two methods. The most common method was medication-induced abortion which resulted in 965 (48%) of abortions. Interestingly, a decade ago, medication-induced abortion amounted to less than 2% (43) of abortions. In 2010, medication-induced abortions gained prominence at 30% (746) of abortions. Notably, 2015 marked the first year that medication-induced abortions were the most common abortion method. The suction curettage method followed closely with 46% (924) of abortions. The remaining 6% (115) of abortions were by dilation and evacuation (D&E) and dilation and extraction (D&X).

Gestational Age of Unborn Child. Nearly all abortions occurred within the first 12 weeks (or first trimester) of pregnancy, totaling 1,867 (93%) abortions. Within this time period, the majority of abortions (1,109) occurred during the fourth, fifth, and sixth weeks of pregnancy.

While the annual report only gives us raw data, as pro-lifers we are left with the difficult work of reaching out to the post-abortive woman and extending the love of Christ and His Church. We know that abortion hurts woman (and men) physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. As we reflect and mourn, pray for healing. Continue to promote the work of healing ministries such as Project Rachel and Rachel’s Vineyard. We commend all this work to the Most Sacred and Merciful Heart of Jesus!