NYC41Percent , an initiative founded last year in part by New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan with the aim of calling attention to (and thereby reducing) the eponymous abortion rate in New York City, has just released statistics for 2010 [note: not 2011, as it takes over a year for stats to become available]. Although the rate ticked downward a notch from 2009, the results are still devastating. Along with the statistic that over 40 percent of city pregnancies end in abortion, some of the more specific numbers reveal nothing less than an epidemic ravaging entire communities:

- Among non-Hispanic blacks there were far more abortions than births, 38,574 to 26,635, or 60%. So for every 1,000 African-American babies born, 1,448 were aborted.

- Among Non-Hispanic black teens, the abortion rate was even greater - 5,956 abortions to 2,265 live births, or 72%. For every 1,000 African-American babies born to teens, 2,630 were aborted.

- The abortion rate among teens as a whole was 63% - 12,139 abortions to 7,207 live births. For every 1,000 babies born among New York City teens 1,684 were aborted.

You can find more information and see the report in its entirety by clicking here  [opens a .pdf file].

Perusing the map presented by the website reveals just how commonplace and devastating abortion is in low-income neighborhoods, particularly in minority sections of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. But there is one sign of hope: the ZIP code with the lowest percentage of abortions (11219, a definite outlier with an 8% abortion rate) covers the Brooklyn neighborhood of Borough Park – a heavily Hasidic Jewish section known for both its strict religious observance and its strong communal support network. It appears to be a clear example of just how much good can be accomplished when religious communities step into these kinds of issues, as Archbishop Dolan has now done, as well.

Perhaps, given that nearly two-thirds of New Yorkers agree that the city’s abortion rate is too high, and that the most recent data available indicates that public funding for Planned Parenthood is in no short supply (income from public money totaled $305.3 million in 2005 and shot up to $487.4 million in 2010) lawmakers, either at the federal, state, or municipal levels, could undertake a very simple measure. Rather than continue to increase their contribution to groups like Planned Parenthood, why not simply cap funding for organizations that perform abortions at their current dollar amounts (hardly an extremist demand in this era of austerity) and instead use the extra money on a new strategy to reduce abortion rates – perhaps funding crisis pregnancy centers or maternal care wards in hospitals? I can’t imagine who might object, given the rhetorical commitment to making the tragedy of abortion “rare” by those who defend its continued legalization.

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