The National Center for Health Statistics, a department of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released a report this week that shows that both pregnancy and abortion rates for women in their twenties have fallen, and credited contraception access and use for the drop in rates. Between 1990 and 2008, pregnancy rates of women in their early twenties fell by 18 percent and abortion rates for this cohort fell by 32 percent. Women in their later-twenties also saw a drop in the rates of pregnancy and abortion, but the drop was smaller. The report adds to findings released earlier this year showing that teen pregnancy rates are at a record low and that teenagers are increasingly using contraception.
Stephanie Ventura, author of the report, told Reuters that because there was not just a drop in pregnancy rates, but also abortion rates, it indicates that access to contraception must be at least partially responsible. She said, “If the pregnancy rates are down, including both births and abortion rates, that would show more efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancies.”
The report (PDF) specifically lists four factors that may have cause the trend: (1) Changes in sexual activity; (2) Changes in marriage, divorce, and cohabitation, which affect the patterns of intercourse and the social and economic context of childbearing; (3) The introduction of new contraceptive methods and discontinuation of existing ones; and (4) Changes in the use of existing methods: the proportion of women using any method, the methods used, and how consistently and effectively they are used.
International Business Times 6/21/12; Reuters 6/20/12; National Vital Statistics Report 6/20/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/8/12, 4/11/12