Abortions Statewide on the Decline; Venango County Reports Increase

| January 15, 2019

VENANGO CO. Pa. (EYT) – Although abortions throughout Pennsylvania are on the decline, Venango County has seen an increase.

According to a report released by the Pennsylvania Department of Health last month, 41 Venango County residents had an induced abortion performed in 2017, compared to 31 in 2016.

The majority of abortions fell into the 21-24 and 25-29 age groups, totaling 26 of the 41 performed on Venango County residents.

The age groups with the fewest abortion performed locally were the youngest age groups.

In the under 15 age group, no local residents had induced abortions in 2017, and there was one resident in the 15-17 age group.

Abortions in the following surrounding counties are also on the increase:

– Butler County: 158 abortions in 2017, increased from 146 in 2016
– Clarion County: 29 abortions in 2017, increased from 16 in 2016
– Clearfield County: 54 abortions in 2017, increased from 49 in 2016
– Crawford County: 47 abortions in 2017, increased from 46 in 2016
– Elk County: 24 abortions in 2017, increased from 17 in 2016
– Forest County: 5 abortions in 2017, increased from 5 in 2016
– Indiana County: 83 abortions in 2017, increased from 71 in 2016
– Jefferson County: 32 abortions in 2017, increased from 26 in 2016

While the number of abortions locally has increased, the total number of abortions that have been performed in Pennsylvania has decreased.

The annual report shows the number of abortions in Pennsylvania in 2017 was 30,011, which is a decrease from abortions in 2016 that was recorded at 30,881. Of the 30,011 abortions performed in the state in 2017, 28,234 were performed on Pennsylvania residents.

Looking at the ages of those residents who had an induced abortion performed, the majority fell in the 21-24 age group and the 25-29 age group, together totaling 16,977, or more than half of the total number in the state.

The age groups with the fewest abortion performed in the state were the youngest two groups.

In the 15-17 age groups, the total of induced abortions was 695.

A total of 75 Pennsylvania residents in the under 15 age group had abortions in 2017.

The overall drop in abortions in the state is seen as a significant step by pro-life activists.

“The fact that abortions are now at a record low is good news for mothers and babies in Pennsylvania,” Maria V. Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, said in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

Pennsylvania has an interesting history with abortion laws, with one of Pennsylvania’s previous laws playing a vital part in the determination of abortion restrictions in our nation.

According to FindLaw.com, Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act, which was signed into law in 1989, was the first attempt by a state to limit abortion rights following the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. A legal challenge against the Abortion Control Act led to 1992’s landmark Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey decision, which upheld the basic right to abortion, but also expanded states rights to enact restrictions on access.

Currently, Pennsylvania has a list of restrictions on abortion, such as requiring women to receive state-directed counseling, which includes information to discourage her from having an abortion, and then a minimum of a 24-hour wait before the procedure.

Pennsylvania also requires consent from the parent of a minor before an abortion can be provided.

In 2013, Act 13, legislation sponsored by Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong) to prohibit abortion coverage in qualified plans offered through a health insurance exchange, was approved by the Pennsylvania House, with exceptions only for cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

“Pro-life, pro-choice, undecided or indifferent, the vast majority of Pennsylvania taxpayers do not support their tax dollars being used to further the practice of abortion on demand,” Oberlander said at the time of the approval of the act.

“This new law is not only consistent with the will of the people, but more importantly, the current rule of Commonwealth law that already prohibits even one penny of taxpayer dollars from funding any elective abortion procedure.”

On a similar note, insurance policies for public employees in Pennsylvania only cover abortion in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest, and public funding is available for abortion only in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

The issues surrounding abortion continue to be a major debate not only in Pennsylvania, with abortion rights coming up in multiple election races last year, but also across the nation.

Earlier this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made headlines by calling for a state constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights in New York.

“We’ll put it on the ballot, we’ll write in into the constitution, and we’ll be able to say we have protected women’s rights in a way no one else has before,” Cuomo said.

On the other side of the issue, a bill was recently filed in Kentucky by Rep. Robert Goforth (R) to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

“When that baby’s heart’s beating, you have to recognize that is a life there. The only person that should be the author of life is God and not man,” Goforth said.

In the meantime, in Texas, abortion providers have filed a suit against the state calling for the repeal of several anti-abortion laws.

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Category: Local News, News