News Article, "Clergy Slam NYC's 40% Abortion Rate," Gothamist (1/7/11)

Yesterday, a group of clergy members gathered to denounce the 40% abortion rate in New York City. The Health Department had previously revealed that of 87,273 pregnancies were "induced terminations," compared to nearly 127,000 live births (there were also over 11,000 miscarriages), which means NYC's abortion rate is about double the national rate. Archbishop Timothy Dolan said, "Im frankly embarrassed to be a member of a community where 41 percent of pregnancies are terminated...New York does not deserve the gravestone 'Abortion capital of the world.' Our boast is the Statue of Liberty, not the Grim Reaper."

According to the New York Times, the press conference was organized by "the Chiaroscuro Foundation, a nonprofit group financed privately by its president, Sean Fieler, an investment banker who supports religious and conservative causes." Even though the number of abortions citywide has decreased, "Mr. Fieler who said his foundation would spend about $1 million this year in New York City to open counseling centers and give financial help to pregnant women said the trend was not downward enough. 'These numbers represent a failure,' he said."

Dolan mentioned the Catholic Church's help with adoptions, but other groups were quick to point out the critics were maybe missing the point. Planned Parenthood of New York City president Joan Malin said, "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. Planned Parenthood works every day to address those underlining issues and 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."

And NARAL Pro Choice New York vice president Mary Alice Carr said, "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 healthcare and potentially forcing women to take drastic measures."

The abortion rate for black women is almost 60%. And the rates by borough: Bronx, 48%; Brooklyn. 39%; Manhattan, 38%; Queens, 39%; and Staten Island, 32%.

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