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January 7, 2013

Roe v. Wade still divisive at 40

(Continued)

“From that moment of conception, that is a human being, endowed with a spirit, therefore a soul, therefore is unique. The church is not going to change, the Catholic Church in particular here, is not going to change its teaching.”

But, as the anniversary approaches, he sees room for discussion rather than dogma.

“My question to the church is: Have we and are we persuasive in our argumentation? Because just saying something doesn’t persuade somebody.”

In 2009, the latest year for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides data, 784,507 abortions were reported. That’s the lowest number since 1974. The crest came in 1990, when 1.4 million abortions were reported — double the 2009 number.

However, states are under no obligation to report abortion data to the CDC, and the 2009 figures exclude California, Maryland, New Hampshire and Delaware. Because of differences in year-to-year reporting by states, some comparisons are difficult.

The CDC says that it has received data continuously since 2000 from 45 of the 48 states and other entities that reported data for 2009. Among those 45, the overall number of abortions and the abortion rate per 1,000 women, ages 15 to 44, declined 5 percent from 2008, and the ratio of abortions to live births declined 2 percent.

The 2009 report lists New York state and New York City separately, but taken together, they had, by far, the most abortions reported to the CDC for a single state: 115,629 (32,723 in the city and 87,273 in the rest of the state). Florida was No. 2 at 81,819, and Texas was No. 3 at 77,630. South Dakota had the fewest abortions at 769.

“I would say a big part of that is … people coming in from other states where they have less access,” Marcus said of the New York figures.

About 8 percent, or 7,051, of the New York state abortions, excluding those in the city, were performed on out-of-state residents, the CDC data show. Kansas was a distant second at 4,717, according to the agency’s figures.

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