1. Number of abortions in US falls to lowest since 1973.

By David Crary, The Associated Press, September 18, 2019, 5:44 AM

The number and rate of abortions across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to new figures released Wednesday.

The report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, counted 862,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2017. That’s down from 926,000 tallied in the group’s previous report for 2014, and from just over 1 million counted for 2011.

The new report illustrates that abortions are decreasing in all parts of the country, whether in Republican-controlled states seeking to restrict abortion access or in Democratic-run states protecting abortion rights. Between 2011 and 2017, abortion rates increased in only five states and the District of Columbia.

One reason for the decline in abortions is that fewer women are becoming pregnant.

According to the report, the 2017 abortion rate was 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 — the lowest rate since the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. Following that ruling, the number of abortions in the U.S. rose steadily — peaking at 1.6 million in 1990 before starting a steady, still-continuing decline. The abortion rate is now less than half what is was in 1990.

One significant trend documented in the report: people who have abortions are increasingly relying on medication rather than surgery. Medication abortion, making use of the so-called abortion pill, accounted for 39% of all abortions in 2017, up from 29% in 2014.


2. Priests facing trial over alleged abuse in Vatican.

The Washington Post, September 18, 2019, Pg. A14

The Vatican’s criminal prosecutors have requested the indictment of a priest accused of abusing an altar boy at a youth seminary steps away from St. Peter’s Basilica — a rare case involving claims of abuse within the city-state’s walls.

A Vatican statement Tuesday said prosecutors were also seeking an indictment of the youth seminary’s former rector for “aiding and abetting” the alleged abuse.


3. Data Shows Abortion Rate Is at Lowest Since 1973.

By Pam Belluck, The New York Times, September 18, 2019, Pg. A18

Abortion in the United States has decreased to record low levels, a decline that may be driven more by increased access to contraception and fewer women becoming pregnant than by the proliferation of laws restricting abortion in some states, according to new research.

The institute estimated that there were about 862,000 abortions in 2017, nearly 200,000 fewer than in 2011. The abortion rate — the number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age — dropped to 13.5 in 2017 from 16.9 in 2011, the lowest rate since abortion became legal nationwide in 1973.


4. Bishops say despite ‘Americans attacking me’ flap, Francis has strong US support.

By John L. Allen Jr., Editor, Crux, September 18, 2019

In the wake of a recent flap over Pope Francis saying he considers it an honor when “Americans are attacking me,” two U.S. bishops in Rome this week to present the results of a major assembly of Hispanic-American Catholics say their presence delivers a simple message: Not all Americans think alike, and most aren’t anti-pope.

“There are differences of opinion, and Americans are very opinionated, but my overwhelming experience of both bishops and the people is one of great love for Pope Francis,” said Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland, Ohio.

Perez told Crux that when he hears reports of American opposition to the pope, “I don’t exactly know what they’re talking about.”


5. Lawyer: Chicago archdiocese paid $80M to clients of law firm.

By Michael Tarm, The Associated Press, September 17, 2019

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has paid $80 million to 160 victims of sexual abuse by clergy represented by a single law firm since 2001, the lawyer who heads the Minnesota-based firm told reporters Tuesday.

According to a statement issued later by the archdiocese, it has paid around $200 million in all to settle litigation accusing clergy of sexual misconduct over recent decades.

The brief Tuesday statement from the archdiocese said it doesn’t disclose settlement payouts to specific law firms or individuals. It did acknowledge the payments have strained the budget of the archdiocese, which serves more than 2 million Catholics in and around Chicago.


6. Biden’s abortion shift tests the politics of his faith.

By Elana Schor, The Associated Press, September 17, 2019, 12:15 PM

It was one of the first stress tests of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign: A sudden reversal of his decades-long support for restricting federal funding of abortions.

The move seemed sure to hurt the former vice president with Catholics, particularly those in the Midwest, whose support will be critical to winning the Democratic primary and the general election. But so far, Biden has faced little criticism over his shift on abortion funding relative to other aspects of his record, and polling shows that he remains Catholic Democrats’ overwhelming favorite in the presidential field.

Steven Krueger, president of the nonprofit Catholic Democrats, warned that “the far left wing of the party has had influence on a number of issues,” including abortion, “that is not going to serve candidates well once they’re in the general election.”

 “It’s very difficult to kind of tack back to the middle once you take a stand on something as black and white as” the restrictions on federal abortion funding that Biden abruptly came out against in June, Krueger added.


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