For the first time in more than four decades, abortions dropped below 1 million in the United States, according to a new report from the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
The pro-abortion research group, considered to have the most comprehensive abortion numbers for the U.S., reported an estimated 926,200 abortions in 2014 and 958,700 in 2013. The abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age) also dropped to 14.6 per 1,000 in 2014, down 14 percent from 2011, according to the report.
The numbers are the lowest since 1975, two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade and opened the doors to abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.
Notably, the pro-abortion researchers partially attributed the decline to pro-life efforts. In the past, Guttmacher and other abortion advocacy groups have avoided giving pro-lifers credit for the declines.
As is typical, Guttmacher researchers argued that one cause for the decline is improved access to birth control, which they said decreases the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions. However, they also admitted in less than flattering terms that pro-lifers are succeeding in their efforts to save unborn babies and moms from abortion.
“… the wave of abortion restrictions passed at the state level over the last five years could also have contributed to the decline by making it more difficult for women to access needed services in highly restrictive states,” the report states.
In a statement reflecting the research group’s abortion agenda, Megan Donovan, Guttmacher senior policy manager, added: “Restricting access to abortion may force women to delay the procedure or carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Instead, we should focus on increasing access to the full range of contraceptive methods, as well as to abortion services.”
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Pro-lifers have been working hard to make abortion unthinkable by providing hope, assistance and information to moms and their babies.
Some of the state laws passed in recent years have helped to ensure that women are fully informed about their unborn baby’s development as well as their options, including material assistance for parents, before having an abortion. Other states cracked down on abortion facilities that were operating in unsafe conditions and putting women’s lives in jeopardy.
Grassroots efforts also have been instrumental in helping to save lives. These included more sidewalk counseling and outreach to moms and babies through organizations like 40 Days for Life, and pregnancy centers’ growing outreach to moms and babies in need.
The Guttmacher researchers found that abortions dropped the most in the West and South regions of the United States. Interestingly, abortion numbers decreased even in areas where new abortion facilities opened – an indication that pro-life education and outreach efforts are working. In the Northeast, the number of abortion clinics increased 14 percent between 2011 and 2014, but the abortion rate still declined by 11 percent, according to the report.
This was not true everywhere, however. The Midwest saw a 22-percent decline in the number of abortion clinics but only a 9-percent decline in the number of abortions in the same period, according to the report.
The percentage of drug-induced abortions with the chemical RU-486 increased to represent almost half (45 percent) of all abortions up to nine weeks gestation, according to the report.
Americans United for Life Acting President Clarke Forsythe celebrated the abortion decline, but noted that the numbers are only estimates.
“In the U.S., no national reporting requirements exist for documenting the number of abortions or any of the negative consequences of the procedure,” Forsythe said. “And these estimates … don’t seem to take into account the reports that about 50 percent of abortions are repeat abortions, meaning that the number of women who have abortions each year is closer to 500,000 or below.
“Still, we certainly hope that the Guttmacher Institute’s estimates are correct, and the number of abortions has decreased as women have chosen life rather than relying on abortion,” Forsythe continued.
The Centers for Disease Control also issues an abortion report every year, but its data is incomplete because states are not required to report their abortion numbers. For the past several years, California has not reported its abortion numbers to the CDC, leaving a large hole in the report. New Hampshire and Maryland also have not reported their numbers to the CDC in a number of years.
Data from the National Center for Health Statistics released in 2016 indicated similar abortion trends. The data found that both teen birth and teen abortion rates are declining to historic lows across the U.S.