This month, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg received lots of criticism for his teen pregnancy “PSA”. But in a recent study done by the Guttmacher Institute, the mayor’s PSA may have been going in the right direction, but used the wrong “scare” tactics. Currently New York has the highest abortion rates in the country and 67 percent of the black teen pregnancies end in abortion.
According to the Institute’s state-by-state study of abortion rates among teens, black teenagers between 15 and 19 years old have an abortion rate of 41 per 1,000 women, more than twice the national average of 18 per 1,000. In comparison, white teenagers have an abortion rate of 10 per 1,000 women, which means that African-American teenagers are having abortions at a rate that is about four times higher than that of their white counterparts.
Another recent study, also from the Guttmacher Institute, revealed that black women account for 30 percent of all abortions, despite African-Americans making up only 13 percent of the total population.
Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the Guttmacher Institute, said that there has not been a study that has found the direct cause for the high abortion rate among black teenagers.
“There’s no definitive research that’s actually been able to answer that question. We just do know that African-American women, including African-American teenagers, just have more pregnancies,” Jones stated.
Many people feel the reporting and data surrounding abortion research is flawed, especially considering states are not required to report abortion data to the CDC.
Cheryl L. Somers, associate professor and director of the School & Community Psychology program at Wayne State University agrees, and argues that data on abortion rates cannot be counted unless it factors in teen pregnancy rates as a whole.
“The [studies] on abortion are missing a key piece on information and that is the raw difference in pregnancy rates,” Somers told The Huffington Post. “Per capita, there are going to be more abortions, because we know that African Americans have a high teen pregnancy rate. So this doesn’t tell the whole story. It’s almost irresponsible, because it misleads the public… and it really perpetuates racial bias,” she said.