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Women’s Right to Choose Crosses Religious, Racial, Age Boundaries

January 21, 2011

LANSING, Mich. - Saturday marks the 38th year since the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade. The landmark case, legalizing abortion, continues to provoke emotional debate on both sides of the issue. Research shows that one-in-three women in this country will have an abortion before the age of 45. That research, from the Guttmacher Institute, also shows that the majority are unmarried and economically disadvantaged, and that three out of four identify a religious affiliation.

Mary Pollock is the legislative vice president for Michigan National Organization for Women. She says the number of abortions has been trending down because there are more options for contraception.

"Contraceptive use is a key predictor of women's recourse to abortion. Women who are at risk of experiencing an unintended pregnancy, but are not using contraceptives, account for almost half of all abortions."

She says proposed legislation that failed to pass a state senate vote last year could help reduce the number of abortions by "requiring contraception be covered in insurance policies, requiring the schools to have comprehensive sex education, giving women the right to fill their prescriptions and require pharmacists to fill them or give a referral to another pharmacist."

In Michigan, a woman must receive state-directed counseling that includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion. There's also a 24-hour waiting period, and minors must have parental consent or get a court order.

Information from the Guttmacher report can be found at Amy Miller/Laura Thornquist, Public News Service - MI