Obamacare Is Not Why Abortions Declined in North Dakota


Ken Koehler, West Fargo, holds a sign in front of the Red River Women’s Clinic as volunteers Paula Haeder, right, and Sara Rundlett wait to escort women seeking an abortion Wednesday, July 22, 2015, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

“The number of abortions performed in North Dakota last year dropped to the lowest level in at least 35 years,” Mike Nowatzki reports.

That’s good news, and there are a few things to remember about that number.

First, it’s the lowest number since officials began tracking abortions.

Second, this is not an abortion rate. Despite the rising population in North Dakota the number of abortions are going down, making the decline all the more significant.

In the article Tammi Kromenaker – director of the Red River Women’s clinic, the only abortion provider inside North Dakota’s borders – credited Obamacare with the decline in abortions:

Clinic director Tammi Kromenaker attributed the drop in abortions in part to Medicaid expansion and the federal Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, which requires that new health insurance plans provide birth control as a preventive service without a patient co-pay.

These are unfortunate and misleading, and certainly not in line with the facts.

I obtained the data for abortions from the North Dakota Department of Health this morning back to 1981, the first year they have complete data for. Here are the trend lines for abortions performed for North Dakota citizens and the total number of abortions performed in the state (which includes people who come here from other places for abortions), and as we can see the decline in abortions is a long-term trend that doesn’t seem to have been impacted much by Obamacare one way or another:

image (7)

I do, however, very much believe that increased availability of contraception, combined with better sex education and society increasingly removing a lot of the taboos around talking about and portraying sex, has impacted these trends.

That’s something pro-life folks should keep in mind.

While I think it’s unconscionable that the federal government would try and force people with a religious objection to things like contraception to pay for those things (or even pay for insurance coverage which pays for those things), I also think opposition to contraception is pretty silly.

I am pro-life. I oppose abortion. I also think the best way to stop abortions is to make it very easy to avoid unwanted pregnancy.