John Pasquale, an occupational therapist from Livingston Manor, said he was 19 and living in New York City in 1988 when his girlfriend became pregnant and decided to have an abortion. Today, it’s an option fewer and fewer women are choosing, according to a recent study published by Guttmacher Institute.
That was 26 years ago, but the hasty decision still bothers Pasquale, he said. His girlfriend’s procedures was one of 1.3 million legal abortions reported to the Centers for Disease Control that year, 15 years after the landmark case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973.
Today, abortion rates are the lowest in 40 years, according to the Guttmacher Institute study, titled “Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011.” The study shows that abortion rates, which were previously at a plateau, decreased by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011.
According to the study, the 2011 national abortion rate was 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, the lowest since 1973. This 40-year low is not just a national trend, but can also be seen locally.
According to the state Department of Health, the abortion rates for Otsego, Delaware and Schoharie counties have decreased significantly recently, particularly since 2008. The number of abortions per 100 live births steadily decreased in Otsego County, from 27.6 in 2002 to 25.1 in 2008, to 23.4 in 2011. In Schoharie County, this number decreased from 32.6 in 2009 to 24.7 in 2011. Delaware County’s abortion ratio decreased from 28.2 in 2008 to 23 in 2011.
Local pro-life and pro-choice advocates had differing opinions on what caused this recent decline in abortion rates.
Pasquale said he believes the decline is because more individuals are researching the procedure and seeing its negative effects.
“People are looking into it and educating themselves,” Pasquale said, “and discovering how destructive abortion is.”
Pasquale said his then-girlfriend decided to have an abortion despite his convictions regarding the act. He said he went with his girlfriend to a clinic and paid for the procedure, but the aftermath, he said, stayed with him long after the couple left the clinic that day.