Abortion Rates In The U.S. Are Lower Than They've Been In Decades

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Despite continued controversy and the shuttering of women's health clinics in states such as Texas and Kentucky, the abortion rate in America is at its lowest level since 1974. In a new report released by the Guttmacher Institute today, researchers looked at data from 2014 and determined that there were less than one million abortions performed that year. The Guttmacher Institute's report used data culled from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and counted 926,200 abortions. While the CDC's report lacks data from California, Maryland, and New Hampshire, it marks a 12% drop from the last report, which used data from in 2011.

Authors Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman surmise that the decline can be connected to the "increased availability of affordable, long-lasting contraceptives that have reduced unintended pregnancies, and the surge of abortion restrictions in many states that have forced some clinics to close and hindered many women's access to the procedure."

The report also looked at data state by state and showed that many states, such as Texas, have passed restrictive laws, which may have brought the abortion rate down.

"It can be very difficult for them to arrange for time off from work, transportation, and child care," Jones said. "Some of the abortion rate decline is likely attributable to women who were prevented from accessing needed services."

The District of Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Florida had the highest rates of abortion. The lowest were in Wyoming, Mississippi, and South Dakota. The report adds that these states only had one abortion clinic each. While the report can be seen as a step forward in many ways, abortion-rights leaders warn that things could change as the new administration plans to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act.
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