The abortion rate in the United States declined to an all-time low while the number of lethal procedures dropped below a million for the first time since 1975, according to a new report.
The Guttmacher Institute reported Jan. 17 the rate fell to 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women 15 to 44 years old in 2014, which is a decline of 14 percent since its most recent survey in 2011. In its census of all known abortion providers in the country, Guttmacher found abortions totaled 958,700 in 2013 and 926,190 in 2014.
The abortion rate reached its zenith at 29.3 in 1980 and ’81, and the total number of abortions peaked at more than 1.6 million in 1990, according to Guttmacher.
Pro-life advocates welcomed the report and pointed to the work of pro-life citizens and legislators as a reason for the dramatic decline.
“The falling abortion number is due to the ceaseless advocacy and ministry of the pro-life community in neighborhoods all around this country,” said Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). “The pro-life movement advances by calling out to consciences with the truth of what unborn human life is and matching that call with real ministry to women in crisis.
“While a lower rate is undoubtedly good news, the violent taking of the life of even one unborn child ought to cause us to weep and redouble our efforts to protect every human life and contend against the predatory abortion industry,” Moore said.
Americans United for Life (AUL), the country’s leader in helping state legislators pass pro-life laws, cited such policies as well as technology in explaining the trend.
AUL Acting President Clark Forsythe said in a written statement, “Research has shown that life-affirming laws do have an impact on lowering the number of abortions, and with all the life-affirming laws passed since 2010, we have a reason to celebrate the number of lives saved and women protected.
“But another factor in lower[ing] the number of abortions is the power of beautiful pictures of life inside the womb through ultrasound,” he said.
In 2016, 43 states considered more than 360 abortion-related measures, according to AUL’s annual report released Jan 10. Bills introduced included such measures as bans on government funding of abortion, restrictions on late-term abortions, ultrasound requirements and prohibitions on abortions based on sex, race or genetic abnormality.
Use of contraceptives
The Guttmacher Institute, which is affiliated with the abortion rights movement, suggested the improved use of contraceptives attributed to the falling rate and total, but it also acknowledged state regulations and the declining number of abortion clinics may have contributed.
The good news for pro-lifers came only five days before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade — the Supreme Court’s Jan. 22, 1973, decision that legalized abortion nationwide — and the observance of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.
It also arrived shortly before the second annual Evangelicals for Life conference Jan. 26–28 in Washington. The conference — co-hosted by ERLC and Focus on the Family — features more than 50 speakers addressing not only abortion but also adoption, end-of-life care, ministry to those with special needs, human trafficking, service to immigrants and refugees and the development of a pro-life worldview.
The report also found:
Forty-five percent of all abortions in the first nine weeks of gestation were performed using pills.
The abortion rate declined between 2011 and 2014 in all but six states and the District of Columbia.
Ninety percent of all U.S. counties in 2014 contained no abortion clinic.
Five states — Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming — had only one abortion clinic each in 2014.
Abortion clinics made up 16 percent of all abortion facilities in 2014 but provided 59 percent of all abortions. (BP)
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