While the number of terminated pregnancies decreased statewide in 2011, it rose locally, according to preliminary figures from the Virginia Department of Health.
The statistics follow the General Assembly's controversial ultrasound bill and enactment of stricter regulations for abortion clinics.
"Overall the number is pretty stagnant," says Tarina Keene, executive director of Naral Pro-Choice Virginia. "We usually average around 26,000 statewide." The number fell to 25,404 from 25,940 the year before.
In Richmond there were 4,042 terminated pregnancies in 2011. The Virginia League of Planned Parenthood performed 1,977 abortions; Richmond Medical Center for Women performed 1,875 and VCU Medical Center performed 190. Henrico County, the only other locality in the area with a women's health center that performs abortions, registered 1,408.
While Chesterfield County reported no abortions at outpatient clinics, a small number were conducted at CJW Medical Center. Keene says that abortions performed at hospitals take place within the second trimester of the pregnancy and usually are related to the health of the mother and fetal anomalies. No abortions were reported in Petersburg or Hanover and Goochland counties.
In speaking with abortion providers, Keene says that the small statewide drop could be attributed to the increase in availability of emergency contraception and the slight improvement in the economy. "A lot of it is based on the family unit," Keene says. "I think many families are making that decision because they aren't able to manage another family member at that moment."