Abortion rates in the United States have dropped to the lowest point since Roe v. Wade

By Jonathon Van Maren

The Washington Post reported some encouraging news earlier today: Abortion rates in the United States are continuing to fall—and the Center for Disease Control noted that pro-life laws were partially responsible for this drop:

Fewer U.S. women are having abortions today than at any time since Roe v. Wade, according to new government figures released Wednesday.

In 2015, a total of 638,169 abortions were reported, a decrease of 2 percent from 652,639 abortions in 2014. The abortion rate was 11.8 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2015, compared with 12.1 in 2014 and 15.9 in 2006.

In the years immediately after abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973, the number of legal abortions rose dramatically, reaching its peak in the 1980s. Abortions then began dropping at a slow rate until around 2006 to 2008, when they increased slightly, followed by even greater decreases in recent years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveillance report comes at a heated time for abortion politics in the country, with Trump administration officials introducing new policies to reduce funding to abortion providers and state legislatures debating ever more restrictive laws on abortion. Just this week, a federal court in Mississippi blocked the state’s ban against abortions past 15 weeks gestation. In signing the bill into law, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) had said he hoped to make the state the “safest place in America for an unborn child.”

While the CDC paper did not delve into the reasons for the decline, analysts have cited improved access to birth control, which has led to a decrease in unintended pregnancies, especially among teens, as well as the state laws regarding parental consent, waiting periods and other conditions that make it more difficult for women to get abortions….While the abortion rate decreased across all age groups in 2015, women in their 20s accounted for nearly 60 percent of all abortions. The abortion rate was 19.9 for women ages 20-24 and 17.9 for ages 25-29.

White women had the lowest abortion rate, at 6.8 abortions per 1,000 women, and black women had the highest abortion rate at 25.1 per 1,000. “The findings in this report indicate that the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions have declined across all race/ethnicity groups but that well-documented disparities persist,” Tara C. Jatlaoui, from the CDC’s division of reproductive health, and co-authors wrote.

There was also considerable variation among jurisdictions, from a rate of 2.8 abortions in South Dakota to 23.1 abortions in New York…The report did not have information about deaths from complications of abortion in 2015, saying the data was still being assessed. In 2014, six women died as a result of legal induced abortion.

It is hard to feel entirely celebratory when hundreds of thousands of pre-born human beings are still being aborted every year, but confirmation that pro-life initiatives are paying off is definitely incredibly encouraging. The pro-life movement has been hollowing out Roe v. Wade from the inside for decades, and the result of this incessant work is that thousands up on thousands of lives have been saved. The fact that the abortion rate has declined across every single ethnic group is also fantastic news.

This is some much-needed encouragement for the pro-life activists and legislators who sacrifice so much to put the lives of pre-born children first and foremost. Their efforts are paying off: On the abortion issue, at least, the culture seems to be slowly trending pro-life.

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For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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