The abortion rate in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level since before Roe v. Wade, according to a new Centers for Disease Control report.
The CDC released its 2013 abortion surveillance report on Wednesday, showing a 5 percent drop in abortions from 2012 and a 20 percent drop since 2004. The CDC data, which is incomplete because the government does not require states to report abortion numbers, reported 664,435 abortions in 47 states in 2013. The abortion rate was 12.5 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44.
In comparison to 2012, the new data indicates that about 34,500 fewer babies lost their lives to abortion in 2013.
The Associated Press reports the CDC has not recorded a lower abortion rate since 1971, two years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolton, which allowed for legalized abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. In 1971, several states had legalized abortion; but it was not legal throughout the U.S.
Abortion rates have been dropping steadily in the past several years as pro-lifers worked to pass a historic number of pro-life laws in states across the country. Pregnancy resource centers and sidewalk counselors also have been playing an integral role, offering pregnant and parenting families resources and information to empower them to choose life for their unborn babies.
Advances in modern technology and medicine also have been playing a part by providing a clear picture of an unborn baby’s life and development in the womb, and making it difficult to deny the biology that life begins at conception.
At their high decades ago, approximately 1 in 3 pregnancies ended in an abortion — resulting in brochures, banners and billboards proclaiming that fact and greying out every third baby displayed in pictures of newborn children. But thanks to the dedicated work of millions of pro-lifers, more babies’ lives are being saved from abortion and more abortion facilities are closing their doors each year.
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Here’s more from the CDC report, as summarized by the AP:
—Women in their 20s accounted for more than 58 percent of abortions and had the highest abortion rates. Young women and girls aged 19 and under accounted for 11.7 percent of abortions.
—Two-thirds of abortions were performed within the first eight weeks of gestation, and nearly 92 percent by 13 weeks. Only 1.3 percent were performed after 20 weeks — a point at which many anti-abortion activists want a federal abortion ban to be imposed. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to support such a ban if legislation reaches his desk.
—State abortion rates varied widely, from 3.6 per 1,000 women age 15-44 in Mississippi to 24.3 in New York. Mississippi is among a handful of states with only one functioning abortion clinic.
—Medical abortions — generally using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol — accounted for about 22 percent of abortions; surgical procedures accounted for nearly all the others.
—About 15 percent of women who obtained an abortion were married. About 60 percent had previously given birth to at least one child.
The report indicates that four women died in abortion-related deaths in 2012, the latest year the CDC has numbers for. All were related to legal abortions and none to illegal abortions, according to the CDC.
There were approximately 5,770 late-term abortions at or after 21 weeks of pregnancy in 2013, according to the CDC. Another approximate 8,150 abortions took place between 18 weeks and 20 weeks, the CDC reports.
Because California, Maryland and New Hampshire do not report their abortion numbers to the CDC, news outlets estimate the real abortion total was about 900,000 nation-wide in 2013.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics released earlier this year indicated similar abortion trends. The data found that both teen birth and teen abortion rates are declining to historic lows across the U.S.