Catholic Transcript Magazine of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford Connecticut

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

ccpac-chart-4CHARTFORD – The Connecticut Catholic Public Affairs Conference (CCPAC) has reported to the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) that thousands of abortions in Connecticut – almost 19 percent on average – may go unreported each year.

Also, some abortion providers in Connecticut are failing to report the age or the gestation period of some patients having abortions, as required by state law, said Michael C. Culhane executive director of CCPAC, the public policy agency of Connecticut’s Catholic dioceses.

However, the number of reported abortions have continued to decline for the third straight year, CCPAC reported in its fourth annual report on "The State of Abortions in Connecticut."

In a letter to DPH commissioner Dr. Jewel Mullen dated Oct. 13, Mr. Culhane wrote, "Unfortunately, during our research for this report, the Conference noticed an extreme discrepancy between the number of abortions reported to DPH by Connecticut providers and the number reported by the same providers to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI)" (italics in original).

 

In a telephone interview with the Transcript, Mr. Culhane said that AGI "is the leading agency or organization that compiles these abortion statistics across the country."

Overall, the number of reported abortions in Connecticut has declined, from 14,534 in 2007, to 14,442 in 2008, to 13,732 in 2009, and to 13,438 in 2010, the report states.

Teen abortions have also declined steadily over the same period, from 1,168 in 2007, to 1,049 in 2008, to 914 in 2009, to 827 in 2010. Between 2002 and 2010, 91 percent of the 863 abortions for minors from out of state were performed on girls under 18 years old from bordering states that have parental consent laws.

The abortion rate per thousand women of childbearing age has also been declining since 2008, when it peaked at 20.9 percent. In 2009, the rate was 20 percent, and in 2010, it was 19.4 percent.

But in the four years for which CCPAC has data, AGI has independently compiled data on thousands more abortions than were reported to DPH, the report states.

For example, the 14,442 abortions reported to DPH in 2008 may be underreported by 2,588, according to AGI statistics. In 2007, DPH figures were 14,524, but AGI figures were 17,390, a difference of 2,866. The difference in 2005 was 4,670, and the difference in 2000 was 2,332.

"The issue has to do with state statutes that require the reporting of every single abortion in Connecticut," Mr. Culhane said.

Even when abortions are reported to DPH, critical information is often withheld, he added. "We have for years been concerned about the failure to report the age and gestation period of women having an abortion," he said. "We’ve had that concern since our first report. And the reason for that is that if you have a minor teenager, you could be getting into an issue of statutory rape. In terms of the gestation period, the state regulations are clear that if you’re in your third trimester the abortions have to be performed in a hospital with an ultrasound and other procedures."

In 2008, age and gestation information was missing from 1,511 reported abortions. After CCPAC brought this to DPH’s attention that year, the number of incomplete reports fell to 661 in 2009 and to 480 in 2010, the report states.

"When I brought this to light, I said, hey, this is important," Mr. Culhane said. "This is a procedure with medical risks, and why wouldn’t a doctor put down an age and gestation period?"

The full report is available online at http://www.ctcatholic.org/documents/CCPACAbortionReport2011.pdf.