A couple of years ago a bill was passed that required our agency to do a comprehensive statistical report about abortion in Arizona. We published our second annual report this week… which includes data compiled from elective abortion procedures reports, complications from abortions reports and petitions filed authorizing abortions to minors. Facilities that provide the procedure are required to send us the required data elements every month (electronically).
Over the last couple of years, we’ve been working hard to make sure that all providers are reporting as required by law. In years past… we think we were missing data because of under-reporting by providers. This year’s report suggests that those efforts to boost reporting are paying off. During 2011 (calendar year) there were a total of 14,401 abortions compared to 11,438 abortions in 2010… which is a 26% increase in the number of reported abortions. I underlined the word “reported” because when you look inside the data, it appears that some of the increase is attributable to better reporting and enhanced surveillance. You can read the full report on our Vital Statistics website.
Let’s tie this report to our Strategic Plan for a second- particularly our mission to reduce teen pregnancy. We already know that AZ has had one of the steepest declines in teen pregnancy in the last few years when compared to the other states. In this report, we see that despite the increase in the overall abortion rate (at least partially attributable to better reporting), the abortion rates for women 15 to 19 years of age declined by 30% in the last 10 years- consistent with declines in the number of teen pregnancies in AZ.