The rate of abortion in the United States has fallen to its lowest since the Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade in 1973 legalized the procedure, a new report has revealed.
The new survey by the Guttmacher Institute discovered that in 2014, there were 14.6 abortions for every 1,000 women with the childbearing ages of 15 to 44 — the biggest recorded drop since the landmark Supreme Court ruling.
For the first time, too, the annual number of abortions in the country fell to under one million for the first time since the mid-1970s. Abortion rates soared to a peak of over 1.6 million in 1990.
Why At An All-Time Low?
The survey, authored by Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, was commissioned for the institute that supports legalized abortion.
The authors did not directly probe the reasons for the rate decline but attributed it to better contraception and a wave of abortion restrictions in some states over the past five years.
“Abortion restrictions and clinic closures mean that patients may need to travel greater distances to access services,” said Jones, pointing to 75 percent of abortion patients as poor or low-income and almost two-thirds are already parents who needed to arrange time off from work and child care to undergo the service.
Interestingly, there was no correlation made between the number of abortion clinics and the dwindling rates. In the Midwest, for instance, the number of clinics dropped 22 percent during the survey period, while the abortion rate in the region decreased 9 percent. The number of clinics in the Northeast climbed 14 percent, while its abortion rate dropped 11 percent from 2011 to 2014.
Different Groups Speak Out
Megan Donovan, senior policy manager at Guttmacher, reminded that enabling women to prevent unintended pregnancies and pursue family planning is a “human rights priority” as well as a “smart public health policy.”
For Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, the findings are fresh proof that better access to contraception is reaping the benefits via fewer abortions.
"It shows that we're finally doing a better job of helping women get access to birth control that's affordable and that's high quality," said Richards in an NBC News report.
Anti-abortion groups such as Americans United for Life, however, said that cracking down on abortion clinics and creating laws that require women to get ultrasounds provide a “real, measurable impact” on the matter of abortion.
The findings are discussed in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.
The survey was released months after the CDC pointed out that birth rates in black and Hispanic teens are still three times likely as in their white peers, but they have dramatically dropped in the past decade.
The Heartbeat Bill, a nationwide version of the controversial, blocked Ohio Heartbeat Bill, was recently introduced and seeks to effectively ban abortions at the very first sign of a fetal heartbeat. If passed into law, this bill will consider any abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy a felony.
The Heartbeat Bill is being presented at the House of Representatives by GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa.