Saturday, January 12, 2008

Abortion in Maine, Part One

The Maine Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion group, is organizing its annual Hands Around the Capitol protest in Augusta. They are specifically protesting the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 decision Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal in the United States by trumping state or federal laws that had previously prohibited legal abortions. With that in mind, I thought I'd offer a few observations about abortion in Maine.

According to data prepared by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services; the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention; and the Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics, there were 2,653 induced abortions in Maine in 2005, the most recent year tabulated. Of those 2,653 abortions, 68.1% (1,807) took place in fewer than nine weeks of gestation, 10.9% (288) took place in the ninth week of gestation, 7.7% (204) in the tenth week, 5.2% (137) in the eleventh week, 4% (107) in the twelfth week, 2.8% (74) in the thirteenth, and fewer than 1% in each of weeks of gestation beyond the thirteenth week. In other words, about 98.6%, or 2,617, of the abortions in Maine in 2005 took place before the fourteenth week of gestation.

The most common method of abortion in 2005 was a process referred to as suction curettage. The report does not offer definitions of the various termination procedures, so I am hesitant to articulate the details of the various procedures. Nevertheless, suction curettage accounted for 81.9% (2,172) of the 2,653 abortions, medical (in other words, non-surgical) abortions accounted for 17.7% (469), sharp curettage accounted for 0.2% (4), dilation and evacuation accounted for 0.2% (4), and an unknown termination procedure accounted for 0.2% (4). For this information, as well as demographical information pertaining to abortion and reports dating back to1999, click here.

- John C.L. Morgan

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