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Abortion Rate Lowest Since 1976

A new report shows that the national abortion rate in 2005 dropped to the lowest measure since 1976. The report by the Guttmacher Institute shows that the abortion rate dropped from 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women from 29.3 in 1981, its peak year. The report also found that the number of abortions declined to 1.2 million in 2005 from a peak of 1.6 million in 1990. Yet still 20% of all pregnancies are terminated by abortion.

The study also revealed that the rate of decline in the number of abortion providers had slowed significantly, to 2% loss from 2000 to 2005. Guttmacher attributed the decrease in abortion providers to the growing number of clinics offering medical (pill) abortion services. Many of these providers had not offered surgical abortion procedures.

Guttmacher did not offer a reason for the decline in the abortion rate, but indicated that it could be the result of a number of factors, including access and use of contraceptives, and decreased access to abortion procedures.The aging of the US population could also be another factor. In 2006, 4.3 million births were reported in the US, the largest number since 1961.

“Our policymakers at the state and federal levels need to understand that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy, so we must redouble our efforts towards prevention, through better access to contraception,” says Sharon L. Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute in a press release.

Sources:

Guttmacher Institute; Washington Post 1/17/08; LA Times 1/17/08