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Legal abortion in Georgia, 1980

, : Legal abortion in Georgia, 1980. Journal of the Medical Association of Georgia 73(2): 87-91

According to data reported to the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR), the number of induced abortions performedin Georgia in 1980 decreased for the 1st time since 1968 when the state legalized abortion. To verify this reported decrease, the DHR data were compared with statistics obtained by the Alan Guttmacher Institute in a 1980 survey of abortion providers in Georgia. Since the AGI contacts providers directly, its statistics are considered a more accurate reflection of abortions performed. According to the DHR, the number of abortions dropped from 36,579 in 1979 to 33,288 in 1980, a 9% decrease, and the abortion rate fell from 26.6/1000 women ages 15-44 years to 23.9/1000. AGI data indicated a drop from 38,760 abortions in 1979 to 37,890 in 1980, a 2% decrease. Since both sources noted a similar trend despite differences in data collection methods, the 1980 decline in abortion procedures in Georgia is considered to represent a true decline rather than s statistical artifact. The sociodemographic characteristics of women obtaining abortions in Georgia in 1980 were also analyzed on the basis of DHR data. Although the number of abortions in Georgia performed on Georgia residents increased 2.5% from 1979-80 to 90.7%, the abortion ratio for residents decreased from 367.7 to 327.4 abortions/1000 live births. There was little change in the age, race, or marital status distribution of women receiving abortions. The ratio for white women was 317 abortions/1000 live births and that for blacks was 342/1000. The abortion ratio for unmarried women (1166/1000) was 13 times that for married women (88/1000). The number of repeat abortions decreased form 34% in 1979 to 29% in 1980. Moreover, 93% of women obtaining abortions did so in the 1st 12 weeks of gestation compared with 89% in 1979. The percentage of abortions performed in clinics increased from 66.5% in 1979 to 75.3% in 1980, with suction curettage accounting for 85% of all abortions in the 1st 12 weeks of gestation. Further analysis ruled out the possibility that the decreased abortion rate was caused by an increase in the number of births, declining numbers of abortion providers, changes in public funding for abortion, or an increase in the number of Georgia residents obtaining out of stat abortions.


PMID: 6707546

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