Sunday, February 15, 2009

Abortion rates

According to this article, abortion rates in Western Europe are significantly lower than in USA/Canada. The rates in the US/Canada are 57% higher. Any theories as to why?

8 comments:

Mommy Bee said...

I think the current economic situation has a lot of people scared of having kids (the uncertainty, expense, etc). I think there are some green-freaks who are still sold on the 'zero population' thing, and as climate change becomes more and more popular, I suspect their numbers are growing.
I think that the stigma of having had an abortion is shrinking, there are more drs than ever who are willing to do it, and fewer laws restricting it. I suspect there is more promiscuous sex and on and on. Also, with fancier fetal testing a lot of people are terminating pregnancies where the fetus is suspected to have problems.
I think that the long and short of it is though that our culture is getting more and more selfish--you can tell a lot about a culture by the way they treat their children. (That's one of the reasons I'm so against routine circumcision, but that's a whole other issue!)

Tim said...

So how is Europe different from that? This is 2007 information, so the economic crisis isn't really part of it. Europeans are more environmentally friendly, and are much more accepting of global warming science. Europeans are also more promiscuous.
And yet somehow they have fewer abortions--fewer abortions per capita and a smaller abortion/pregnancy ratio. Why?

Tim said...

Oh, and my math in the post is bad. Northern America has 75% more abortions, per capita (capita being, here, women 15 - about 44, if I remember correctly) than Western Europe.
Ouch.

JorgenMan said...

One idea my wife had - and we have no idea if it's true or not - is that abortions might be reported differently.

For example, if you just look at the numbers, there appears to be a high infant mortality rate in the United States. The reality is that many infant deaths that are counted in the U.S. are not counted in some other countries. This makes it difficult to compare infant mortality rates between countries.

So, different definitions of "abortion" might have something to do with it. Just an idea.

Tim said...

Maybe, although I'm not sure how you'd define abortion differently.
And is the high infant mortality rate a result of our health care system instead? (By the way, our life span expectancy is also lower than that in Western Europe).
If anyone has data that shows that governments in Western Europe count abortions differently from the US, let me know.
If that's not the case, then something else is causing the difference.

Katrina said...

Higher use of contraceptives in Europe maybe?

alison said...

There are variances in abortion rates dependent on race/ethnicity. The abortion rates for white women are about 14 in 1000, for Hispanic are about 23 in 1000.

Succinct.

reference: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5511a1.htm

Tim said...

Katrina,
You're definitely right about the birth control. There's no abstinence-only sex ed, and teenagers in Europe who sleep around use birth control. You don't have the Juno/Palin problem.
Race/ethnicity is interesting. I think that is part of the issue. Granted, Hispanic women have on average more children than white women, and so I'm not sure if a greater percentage of their pregnancies are aborted or not. And I wonder if poverty plays any role, as Hispanics and African Americans both tend to have more abortions and both tend to have more poverty (as compared to Western Europe, where poverty rates are very low).