Abortion Rates at Lowest Number Since 1973

A new study from the Guttmacher Institute shows a drop in the number of abortions being received. From 2008 to 2011, abortions fell to the lowest numbers seen since 1973. 

"The number of abortions and the abortion rate declined steadily between 2008 and 2011 - about 4-5% per year. In 2011, there were 1.06 million abortions, and the abortion rate was 16.9 per 1,000 women aged 15-44...The number of abortions and the abortion rate both decreased 13% between 2008 and 2011 (Table 2). Declines in abortion rates were found in almost all states and the District of Columbia. Only six states—Alaska, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wyoming—experienced no change or an increase in abortion rates."

There are a few principle reasons behind this:

  • Because of the economic downturn, women became more conscious of their pregnancy prevention plans.
  • Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, which are usually more effective and less prone to user-error, began to replace short term methods of birth control. 
  • For the majority of cases, fewer abortions weren't caused by the recent surge of pro-life restrictions: "Abortion rates decrecreased by larger-than-average amounts in several states that did not implement any new restrictions between 2008 and 2010" - from the report

When women are provided access to information about their bodies and what reproductive healthcare options are available, they’re obviously better equipped to make the best decisions for their personal circumstances. The importance of this autonomy cannot be overemphasized. The results of the study are encouraging, especially when faced with the fact that since 2011, a record number of restrictions on reproductive rights have been put in place. It is important to keep in mind that the difficulty of these restrictions is felt the most by women who are low-income and/or part of marginalized communities.

From the Grio:

“Many abortion restrictions block access by making abortions too expensive for low-income women.  In the pre-Roe world, there were not fewer women getting abortions, like many abortion opponents argue; middle-class women were able to have the procedure done at their private physicians and lower-income women were forced to seek out cheap and unsafe methods, which cost many women their lives.”

For a group claiming that every life is precious, you would think Republicans would learn that the best way to lower abortion numbers is not fear mongering and Puritanical judgment that could rival a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel. If conservatives really are concerned about preventing abortion, and not just regulating women’s bodies, maybe they should take a note from progressives by letting women make their own decisions.