Pro-lifers rejoice! Abortion rates in the United States have hit their lowest level since the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, according to newly released figures.

A total of 862,000 abortions were performed in the U.S. in 2017, according to Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. That number is down significantly from the 926,000 abortions the group tallied in 2014. It also may mark a trend since there were one million abortions performed in 2011.

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The abortion rate in 2017 was 13.5 women per 1,000 aged 15 to 44. That is the lowest rate since the Roe v. Wade decision was put into law and legalized abortion across the United States. Though abortions increased following the decision, they have been steadily declining over the years. They peaked in 1990 when 1.6 million abortions were performed.

Abortion rates have also only increased in five states and the District of Columbia between 2011 and 2017.

While this trend was part of recent increased support for restricting abortion on a legislative level, Guttmacher Institute notes that the abortion rate has decreased along with the birth rate. The report notes that a likely reason for the birth rate decline is due to increased education and availability of contraception.

“There was also no consistent relationship between increases or decreases in clinic numbers and changes in state abortion rates,” the report announced.

“Abortion rates decreased in almost every state, and there’s no clear pattern linking these declines to new restrictions,” said Elizabeth Nash, senior state policy manager at the Guttmacher Institute.

“If restrictions were the main driver across the board, we’d expect birthrates to increase,” Nash added.

The number of clinics offering abortions has also decreased from 2011 to 2017. The number has decreased from 839 to 808. The South and Midwest both saw their number of clinics decline, while the number of clinics on the Northeast increased, including in New York.

The District of Columbia, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, and Florida had the highest abortion rates in 2017. The lowest rates were in Wyoming, South Dakota, Kentucky, Idaho, and Missouri.

Another notable fact out of the report is that women are increasingly relying on medication abortions, rather than actual procedures.

Pill-based abortions accounted for 39 percent of all 2017 abortions. That is an increase of 29 percent from 2014.

Abortion has become an increasingly debated subject, especially in light of states like Alabama passing near-universal bans on the procedure in the hopes of challenging Roe v. Wade in the future.

Anti-abortion activists have also become louder in their messaging with hit films like “Gosnell,” “Unplanned” and the upcoming “Roe v. Wade” all taking aim at current abortion procedures.

Guttmacher Institute compiles its data by directly contacting individual abortion providers across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention excludes California, Maryland and New Hampshire in its data collecting.

Guttmacher President Herminia Palacio said abortion restrictions are “coercive and cruel by design,” according to The Associated Press. Palacio said restrictions mostly punish low-income women.

Zachary Leeman
Zachary Leeman

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