The second-highest number of abortions performed in Pennsylvania are done within Allegheny County, but the numbers are going down. (Philadelphia County has the highest number, and is responsible for 40 percent of PA's abortions -- but that's another horror story.) Residents of Allegheny County, however, are only part of the County's total. For example, in 2015 residents had 3,384 abortions, but the abortion centers here -- Planned Parenthood, Allegheny Reproductive Services, Magee Womens Hospital -- performed another 2,935 abortions on women from elsewhere. Some would be women living in or near Pittsburgh, who would declare their residence to be another county or state. Some would be women coming from surrounding counties, and even from Ohio or West Virginia.
There has been a slight change in proportions, too: in 2010, abortions to non-residents were 48 .3 percent of the total; by 2015, they had dropped to 46.4 percent.
We might think that the drop in non-resident abortions reflected fewer abortions performed on women who live in the counties surrounding Allegheny County: Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland. This is not so: the reduction for abortion numbers for these counties from 2010 to 2015 was only 252, a 15.3 percent difference, smaller than that of Allegheny County's 17 percent. It is probably the case that we would find the same result if we looked at counties even further afield.
So what group is it that lives close enough to Pittsburgh that some would come here for abortions, but its members do not technically reside in the county? Students are the most likely one. They live temporarily in Allegheny County or in neighboring college counties, and they would declare to the abortionists that they were from another county or state. This would be reported to the PA Department of Health, and we see the results in the Annual Abortion Reports.
Our friends at Women's Choice Network, Choices Pregnancy Services, the Pregnancy Resource Center of the South Hills, Alpha-Omega Pregnancy Center in Slippery Rock, and all the other centers near colleges and universities, should keep up their excellent outreach and advertising to this demographic, and perhaps the annual numbers of abortions performed in Allegheny County will continue their downward trend.
Chris Humphrey has been involved in pro-life activity of one kind or another since the late 1970s, when he first looked at the subject of abortion in seminary in Canada. He has an undergraduate degree in English (University of Toronto), and M.A. and Ph.D. in religious studies (McGill). He has had a varied career as a pastor, chaplain in a psychiatric hospital, editor of academic and instructional publications, semi-professional photographer, and home renovator. He is a husband of over 40 years to Edith (a Professor of New Testament), father to three girls, and grandfather to twelve grandchildren. He lives and works in the Stanton Heights neighborhood of Pittsburgh.