HARRISBURG, Pa. — 30,011 babies were aborted in Pennsylvania in 2017, a new report from the Pennsylvania Department of Health outlines. The vast majority of women obtaining the abortions were unwed.
The figure is slightly down from the year prior, during which 30,881 children in the Commonwealth lost their lives, but is stated to be a record low.
According to the report, over 87 percent of those who aborted their child last year were unmarried, or 26,310 women. Nearly 39 percent of those women were age 24 or younger.
Most of the abortions—83.6 percent—were performed in five counties in the Commonwealth: Philadelphia, Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware and Northampton.
A chart based on residency shows that the least number of abortions were performed on women from Bradford, Sullivan, Fulton, Susquehanna, Tioga, Cameron and Forest counties, which had five or fewer abortions listed.
143 women experienced complications from their abortion, with the most common complication being “retained products of conception,” meaning that parts of (or all of) the dead baby had been left inside of the woman. 102 of the 143 women were listed under this complication.
48 complications were from pill-based abortions, and 33 were suction curettage abortions, the latter of which rips the baby from the womb via vacuum-like pressure.
Suction curettage was the most commonly used abortion method overall, with 16,879 babies dying by the surgical procedure, and 11,496 babies being killed by the abortion pill. 1,627 babies died by dilation and evacuation, also known as dismemberment abortion.
Over 18,000 of the babies were eight weeks gestation or less, and over 1,000 babies were between 18-23 weeks gestation, or four and a half to nearly six months gestation.
More than half—52.8 percent—of the mothers had never obtained an abortion before, while 7,786 women had previously aborted a child and 3,776 obtained their third abortion. 1,082 mothers had aborted four or more of their children before their 2017 abortion.
“[A]bortion totals in Pennsylvania would be much higher were it not for the caring pregnancy resource centers administered by Real Alternatives and other groups,” Maria Gallagher, legislative director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, remarked to the Daily Local News. “These life-affirming organizations provide everything from diapers to daycare referrals, along with comprehensive counseling to pregnant women.”
As previously reported, Pennsylvania had been an influential state in American history in the fight against abortion. In 1850, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court became the first high court in the nation to declare that abortion must be prohibited at any stage of gestation for any reason.
While other state courts allowed preborn babies to be aborted up to four months of gestation by reason of a “quickening” theory, which stated that a person was not protected until the mother felt them kicking in the womb, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would accept no such argument.
In Mills v. Commonwealth, the court declared that the theory “is not … the law in Pennsylvania, and ought never to have been the law anywhere.” The ruling became a strong precedent that other state courts began to review and follow.
By the 1900’s, due to the influence of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, nearly every state in the nation prohibited abortion for any reason, with the exception of Arkansas, Mississippi and North Carolina.