Minn. abortions drop to lowest number since 1970s

A Minnesota Department of Health report finds the number of abortions performed in Minnesota dropped seven percent last year to 9,903.

The annual assessment marks the first time since the mid-1970s that that the number of abortions has been below 10,000.

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate said the lower number reflects their efforts to help women.

Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, which supports abortion rights, said abortions are decreasing because women have increasing access to birth control options.

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"Planned Parenthood has been doing everything that we possibly can do to reach out to the community and educate people about birth control, how to use it and make it available to people regardless of their income," Stoesz said.

Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, a group that opposes abortion, attributes the lower number to informed consent laws like the Woman's Right to Know Act, which the Legislature passed in 2003. It requires abortion providers to provide women with information about the procedure 24 hours before it is performed.

Bill Poehler, a spokesman for the group, notes that the number of abortions has been falling since the act took effect.

"It's great to see that more and more women are turning away from abortion and choosing to give life to their unborn babies," Poehler said. "We think that some of the pro-life laws that we've helped to put in place are really making an impact."