By Holly Gatling, executive director, South Carolina Citizens for Life
COLUMBIA, S.C. (June 6)–The number of abortions occurring in South Carolina declined again in 2009, dipping to under 7,000 for the first time since 2005. Overall, abortions have declined by 51 percent since the peak in 1988 when the number was 14,133.
(For a complete report of abortions occurring in South Carolina since 1970, see the graph at http://sclife.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/SC-Life-Chart.pdf.)
Obtained from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the report showed there were 6,911 abortions performed in 2009 in six facilities including three free-standing abortion business and three hospitals. The 2009 number is 276 fewer abortions from 2008.
South Carolina Citizens for Life President Lisa Van Riper, a political science instructor at North Greenville University, said, “When all three parts of the pro-life movement work together, babies lives are saved.” She identifies the three components as the education, compassionate care, and protective legislation.
South Carolina Citizens for Life works closely with the S.C. Association of Pregnancy Care Centers to help women facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies. We work with faith groups, churches, schools, and civic organizations to promote pro-life education. As the only single-issue right to life organization in the state, S.C. Citizens for Life works exclusively for laws that protect unborn children, pregnant women, and medically vulnerable members of our human family.
“Our part,” Mrs. Van Riper said, “is to take the changed hearts and minds of our culture and translate them into protective laws. We know that protective legislation saves lives and further changes hearts and minds. The law is a great teacher.”
In addition to the number of abortions occurring in South Carolina, the DHEC report showed that slightly more than 38 percent of the abortions were “non-surgical” (meaning chemical) while the majority, 61 percent, of the procedures were suction and curettage. There were 17 abortions described as dilation and evacuation. There were 24 abortions performed on babies 20-24 weeks gestational age.
A particularly disturbing number in the DHEC report is the disproportionate number of abortions that black women have. While blacks make up slightly less than 28 percent of the state’s population, black women have 40.5 percent of the abortions occurring in the state. Whites make up 66 percent of the population and white women have just under 55 percent of the abortions.
The age range of women having abortions was 12 years old to 46. The most number of abortions in any age group, 495, were performed on women age 21.
According to DHEC, for 2009 the Charleston Women’s Medical Center reported the most abortions — 2,516 — cornering 36 percent of the abortion market in the Palmetto State. Its business, however, was down by 34 abortions from 2008.
The Greenville Women’s Clinic was second highest with 2,191 abortions, although its business showed the most significant decline of 346 abortions from the previous year.
Planned Parenthood of South Carolina located in Columbia performed the fewest number of abortions of the free-standing facilities. However its business increased. It reported 2,161 abortions in 2009, an increase of 87 abortion deaths of unborn children from 2008.
The Medical University of South Carolina reported 29 abortions; Greenville Memorial Hospital reported 13 abortions; and AnMed Health in Anderson, S.C., reported one abortion in 2009.