The survey, released on Wednesday, revealed that abortions for American women aged 15 to 44 dropped 24% nationwide between 2006 and 2015. The overall rate of abortions also declined by 2% (from 652,639) from 2014 to 2015.
The abortion rate decreased for all age groups, but the largest decline was for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, where there was a decline of 54%.
A cause was not specified in the report, but it is possible that increased access to contraception in the U.S. is a factor. When the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate went into effect in 2011, making it possible for women to get birth control for free, the number of women who use birth control at no cost more than quadrupled.
Birth control methods such as the pill, injections, vaginal rings, implants (such as IUDs), and more are all covered under the ACA. That means that women have wider access to various forms of birth control now than at any point in the past, that is completely covered if they are insured by most employers and ACA plans.
Overall, the decline appears to be representative of a worldwide trend. A study from the Guttmacher Institute this year found that abortion rates tend to go down when it is legal, citing Switzerland — a country with legalized abortion — as the place with the lowest rate of abortion, with five abortions per 1,000 women.
This report comes on the heels of a controversial six-week abortion ban that was recently passed by Ohio legislature and a 15-week abortion ban that was passed by Mississippi governor Phil Bryant but temporarily blocked by a federal judge.