FEWEST US ABORTIONS in HISTORY
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.“
Analyses have suggested that improved contraceptive use played a role in the long-term declines. In some states, decreased access to abortion services contributed, as well,” said Rachel Jones, principal research scientist for the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports women’s right to abortion.
Conservative state lawmakers are passing increasingly restrictive abortion laws in a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 landmark decision that established that women have a constitutional right to an abortion.
The Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives last week approved a measure that would ban abortions at six weeks, while an Iowa law banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected is tied up in a court battle. [L2N1XW020]
Such laws are designed to end up before the Supreme Court, which has become more conservative following President Donald Trump’s appointments of Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
The CDC study also showed 91.1 percent of abortions performed in 2015 were in a woman’s first 13 weeks of pregnancy. There was also a shift toward earlier abortions, with the number performed at six weeks or less increasing 11 percent.
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