The city's health department released a report that says 38.7% percent of New York's pregnancies in 2009 were aborted. While the number of induced terminations has actually decreased since 2000, Archbishop Timothy Dolan is responding to this latest study by calling for efforts to make abortions "rare."
The Wall Street Journal reports that Dolan criticized public school sex education programs that include condom distribution. The Times points out that while the average in past years has been similar (about twice the national average) the 2009 numbers are still creating controversy among New York's clergy.
In recent years, the Catholic Church has lobbied to end Medicaid financing for abortion. Many bishops, including Archbishop Dolan, have participated in an annual protest outside the United States Supreme Court demanding that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which made abortion legal, be overturned.
Dolan did say that abortion is unlikely to end, but that it's important "to tell people what is happening." He added, "I'm frankly embarrassed to be a member of a community where 41 percent of pregnancies are terminated..."
Planned Parenthood of NYC president Joan Malin responded to the press conference denouncing the city's abortion rate.
The unplanned pregnancy rate in New York City is impacted by a myriad of societal factors, including access to information and education, access to birth control, and intimate partner violence, among others ... We invite the Archdiocese of New York and its partner organizations in this press conference to join in making sure that every young person in New York City has access to comprehensive sex education and access to birth control information and usage.
NARAL Pro Choice New York vice president Mary Alice Carr added to that sentiment:
If the Archbishop and his allies are truly committed to lowering the New York City abortion rate, they might consider supporting the tools proven to reduce unintended pregnancies: comprehensive sex education and birth control for sexually active individuals. Instead, these men continue to meddle in women's lives and preach a gospel of shame and stigma while seeking to ban or otherwise limit access to abortion--strategies that have historically done nothing to reduce unintended pregnancy (or abortion) rates and succeed only in placing barriers before health care and potentially forcing women to take drastic measures.