U.S. Abortion Rates Hit Historic Low

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November 28, 2017

Abortion rates continued their decades-long decline, hitting a historic low in 2014, a new CDC report finds.

The abortion rate dropped 2 percent between 2013 and 2014, Fox News reported. That change was attributed to more effective contraception, the closure of abortion clinics thanks to more thorough health standards enforced in many states, and an overall drop in pregnancy rates.

There were about 12.1 abortions per 1,000 U.S. women of childbearing age in 2014, the report notes, as compared against 19.4 per 1,000 in 2008. The largest decline was in teen abortion rates—the rate for teenage girls has dropped 46 percent since 2008. About 59 percent of abortions are performed on women in their twenties.

This decline is part of a broader trend since abortion rates peaked in the early 1980s. Current rates are lower than they were in 1973, when Roe v. Wade first legalized abortion nationwide.

Wider spread use of contraception, especially by otherwise sexually active teenagers, was partially behind the decline, the report noted.

"Providing women and men with the knowledge and resources necessary to make decisions about their sexual behavior and use of contraception can help them avoid unintended pregnancies," the report read. "[P]roviding contraception for women at no cost can increase use of these methods and reduce abortion rates."

The closure of abortion clinics also played a role. A 2016 Bloomberg analysis found that since 2011, 162 clinics had closed, while just 21 had opened. Five states have just a single abortion clinic, with the overwhelming majority of clinics clustered in New York, California, and Florida.

The declining birth rate, meanwhile, was captured by Demographic Intelligence in a recent report. DI found a 2.8 percent decline in births in 2017 as compared against 2016, with the overall fertility rate expected to drop to 1.77 children per woman.

"Younger women are having fewer children," said DI President Sam Sturgeon. "This is true not just for teenagers but also for women in their twenties. This decline in births is especially striking because most observers, including the U.S. Census, anticipated that a growing population of young people and a stronger economy would lead to a rise in births; but we are seeing just the opposite: a big decline in births."

Published under: Abortion