Changes in Reporting Methods May Be Responsible for Increased Rate of Abortion in Arizona

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Changes in Reporting Methods May Be Responsible for Increased Rate of Abortion in Arizona

Robin Marty

It looks like one of the most anti-choice states in the nation is having a rise in its abortion rate.  But is it real?

Since the replacement of pro-choice Janet Napolitano with anti-choice Governor Jan Brewer, Arizona has become one of the most hostile states to reproductive health and rights in the nation. Yet somehow, despite the onslaught of new regulations, the abortion rate is rising.

Via the Arizona Daily Star, the rate of terminations has increased 25 percent in the last year, the highest it has been in a decade.

But analysts believe the rise may have less to do with an actual increase in the number of abortions provided, and instead be based on a change in how the numbers are reported, converting from a paper to electronic system.

[State health director Will] Humble said the old records system essentially involved abortion providers filing paper reports. He said that often led to problems keeping track of data.

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The new system, he said, requires clinics and doctors to file electronic reports. Humble said that mandate, coupled with better training of abortion providers and their staffs, should mean better data from now on to make comparisons.

Whether the increase is real or just a product of better reporting won’t be clear until another year of data is compiled for comparison. Roughly half of all pregnancies in Arizona are unintended, but the state remains determined to limit access to affordable contraception, as it fights, for example, to allow employers to refuse insurance coverage of contraception. As a result, an already-high rate of unintended pregnancies will continue to be a problem in Arizona.