Screen Shot 2014-05-27 at 7.38.30 PMAlmost a third of pregnancies in Detroit end in an abortion, says a Detroit News report. In 2012, there were an estimated 18,360 pregnancies in the city with 5,693 ending in termination.

The overall abortion rate among women age 15 to 44 in Detroit is 37.9 per 1,000 women. The national abortion rate in 2011 was 17 in 1,000 women.

“We’re seeing a picture that looks more like some third-world country than someplace in the United States,” says Dr. Susan Schooley, chairwoman of the Department of Family Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital.

Increased poverty, which was an estimated 42 percent in 2012, and a decrease in state funding for family planning and birth control play a part in the high abortion and infant mortality rates. A 2012 study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo., showed that unintended pregnancy and abortion rates drastically decreased when uninsured, low-income women were granted free access to birth control. Last week, the city announced a new program aimed at providing medical care and support for pregnant women.

“Reproductive health disparities, and health disparities more generally, are endemic in this country and stem from broader, persistent economic and social inequities,” says Susan Cohen, Acting Vice President for Public Policy at the Guttmacher Institute, which advocates for sexual and reproductive health. “We need to bridge these reproductive health gaps by ensuring that all women, regardless of their economic circumstances, have meaningful access to the full spectrum of information and services – both contraceptive services to reduce levels of unintended pregnancy and abortion services.”

Michigan has passed several anti-abortion laws in the last couple years, including one that requires women to purchase riders to cover abortions.


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