More abortions performed last year in Minnesotaby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health says there were more abortions performed in Minnesota last year.
The increase is the first time the number of abortions has gone up in five years. The report says there were slightly more than 14,000 abortions done in Minnesota in 2006 -- a 5 percent increase from 2005.
State lawmakers passed a law in 1998 that requires the Minnesota Department of Health to collect abortion data. The number of abortions nationwide has been declining since the 1990s, although the most recent figures are several years old. Minnesota's number peaked at 19,028 in 1980 and has fallen most years since.
The report also collects data on the ages of the women who received the abortion, the reason for the abortion and which providers did the procedure.
According to the report, a large majority of the women having abortions were unmarried. Most were white, were high school graduates, and paid for the procedure themselves or through insurance. The majority of the fetuses were under 9 weeks of gestation.
The law doesn't require the agency to analyze the numbers, so it doesn't. But advocates on both sides of the abortion issue bickered about why the number of abortions has risen.
Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life blamed Planned Parenthood, the state's biggest provider of abortions and family planning services.
Scott Fischbach, who heads the anti-abortion group, said Planned Parenthood's new express clinics in three Twin Cities suburbs were responsible for a 16 percent increase in abortions among minors.
"There's no other change that's happened in the state, other than Planned Parenthood preying on teens and targeting and marketing to teens, much like Big Tobacco has done," Fischbach said.
Planned Parenthood's president and CEO called the claims "ludicrous."
Abortions aren't provided at the clinics in Woodbury, Apple Valley and Eden Prairie.
Abortions are up because women are having a harder time getting affordable birth control, said Sara Stoesz, who heads Planned Parenthood Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota. The group provided 3,660 abortions in Minnesota in 2006, according to the report.
"The one thing we know causes abortion is unintended pregnancy, and there is a direct link between unintended pregnancy and lack of affordable birth control," Stoesz said.
State funding for family planning services hasn't increased in recent years, though prices have climbed. Lawmakers this year approved a $2.3 million funding bump for birth control over the next two years.
Of the roughly 14,000 abortions performed, the top reason given by most of the women -- 9,598 -- was that they did not want children at the time. Another 5,000 said it was for economic reasons.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)