Saturday, January 21, 2017

Abortion Rate in U.S. Falls to Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade

NPR (January 17, 2017): Abortion Rate in U.S. Falls to Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade, by Sarah MacCammon:

The Guttmacher Institute reports that the U.S. abortion rate fell to its lowest level since 1973.  In 2014, the abortion rate was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing years, compared to a peak of 29.3 in 1980.

The drop in the abortion rate may be due to increased restrictions on abortion. A spokesperson for Americans United for Life suggests that increased regulation, including requirements that women have ultrasounds before abortions may have resulted in women changing their minds and continuing pregnancies. But regulations also may have shut down clinics making it difficult or impossible for women who wanted abortions to obtain them.

The Guttmacher report says abortion restrictions do appear to be a factor in the declining numbers in some states. But principal research scientist Rachel Jones, lead author of the report, said that's not the whole story. She noted that abortion declined in almost every state, and "having fewer clinics didn't always translate into having fewer abortions."

A more important driver of the declining abortion rate, Jones said, appears to be improved access to contraception, particularly long-acting birth control options like IUDs. She noted that women in the United States have been using the highly effective devices in growing numbers for more than a decade, and said the declining birthrate suggests more women are preventing unwanted pregnancies.

"Abortion is going down, and births aren't going up," Jones said.

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