NYC's 41% Abortion Rate Riles Religious Leaders

Archbishop Timothy Dolan greets worshippers at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York Tuesday, April 14, 2009, moments before beginning a Solemn Vespers ceremony the day before his installation as the new leader of the Archdiocese of New York. Dolan, 59, the former Milwaukee archbishop, is taking over the most visible American job in the Roman Catholic Church and the nation's second-largest diocese after Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Pool, Spencer Platt) AP Photo/Spencer Platt

In a noticeable departure from strict Catholic dogma decrying abortion no matter what, New York's Archbishop Timothy Dolan called together religious leaders Thursday and asked everyone to work with each other to make abortion "rare."

Dolan's called for the gathering in light of a New York City Department of Health report (PDF) stating that induced terminations ended about 41 percent of the 214,454 reported pregnancies in the city last year.

Nationally, the number of pregnancies that ended in induced terminations was about 24 percent of the total in 2006, the most recent year reported by the Centers for Disease Control, which keeps thorough statistics on pregnancy outcomes nationwide.

While the 87,273 abortions reported in 2009 in New York City are down from the 10-year high of 94,466 reported in 1999, religious leaders say the number is still too high.

The New York Times reports that Dolan said the practice is unlikely to end but that it was important 'to tell people what is happening."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the religious leaders also criticized public schools sex education programs that include condom distribution.

The Health Department report points out some obvious places for religious leaders to start.

Teenage pregnancies and abortions are down from previous years, but women aged 20 to 24 had more than one out of every four induced pregnancy terminations performed in the city last year, which has been about the rate for the last decade.

African-American women had about half of all induced pregnancy terminations, and Hispanic women represented about one quarter of the total, which is in disproportion to their respective representation in the overall population.

Additionally, the boroughs of the Bronx and Brooklyn led the way in number of abortions, together making up half of the total.
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