by Steven Ertelt
January 17, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new report by an organization affiliated with Planned Parenthood finds that the number of abortions nationwide have fallen to their lowest point in 30 years and have declined 25 percent since 1990. Pro-life groups point to laws limiting abortions, the effectiveness of pregnancy centers and abstinence education as the reason why.
The Alan Guttmacher Institute report finds just over 1.2 million abortions in the United States in 2005, down nearly 25% from their high of 1.6 million in 1990.
The number of abortions are now at their lowest point since 1.179 million in 1976.
Additionally, the report shows the abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women age 15-44) down to 19.4 per thousand — the lowest since 1974. That was the first full year following the Roe v. Wade decision.
The Guttmacher report speculates that the lower abortion rates may be due to "more women carrying unintended pregnancies to term," implicitly acknowledging that attitudes toward abortion and pregnancy may have substantially changed.
Dr. Randall O’Bannon, the director of research and education for National Right to Life, told LifeNews.com the new figures are welcome news.
"Today’s numbers confirm what we have known for years — if women seeking abortion are fully informed about the risks surrounding abortion, the development of their unborn child, and public and private assistance available in their area, they are more likely to reject the idea of abortion," he said.
"Women’s Right to Know laws, parental involvement laws, bans on partial-birth abortion — all of which continue to be enacted by the states — not only help women facing crisis pregnancies, they also raise the public’s awareness about abortion and the humanity of the unborn child," he said.
"What the pro-life movement has done, and continues to do, has saved hundreds of thousands of lives," O’Bannon concluded.
The Guttmacher figures also show that the decline in abortion has occurred during the Bush administration years as well, with abortions falling 8 percent between 2000 and 2005. The abortion rate fell 9 percent during those same years.
Now, one in five pregnancies end in abortion in the United States, whereas, during the 1990s, the figure was one in three and eventually fell to one in every four. Currently, about 13 percent of all abortions involve the dangerous abortion drug RU 486, otherwise known as mifepristone.
The report also showed that 1,787 doctors, abortion practitioners, abortion businesses and hospitals do abortions in the U.S., a two percent decline from the 2000 figure. The number had declined about 38 percent between 1982 and 2000 but the decline has leveled off.
The institute claims the decline is due to increased use and availability of contraception.
This is the first AGI report on the state of abortions nationally since its last one covering the year 2000. The Centers for Disease Control releases annual abortion numbers, but it doesn’t cover all 50 states and its figures are considerably lower than the actual statistics.