Issues

Report: U.S. Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Roe v. Wade

Pro-abortion and anti-abortion protestors rally outside the Supreme Court / AP

The annual abortion rate in the United States has dropped to its lowest level since the Supreme Court legalized abortion through its landmark Roe v. Wade decision over four decades ago, according to a report published Tuesday.

The study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute counted 926,200 abortions in 2014, representing a 12.5 percent drop from the 1.06 million abortions recorded in 2011. The decline was recorded nationwide, with the exception of six states where abortions rose over the three-year period, the Associated Press first reported.

The report pegged the rate of abortions in 2014—the latest year with recorded date—at 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, marking the lowest level since abortion was legalized nationally in 1973.

The U.S. abortion rate steadily increased following the Roe v. Wade ruling, reaching a peak of 1.6 million abortions in 1990 before it began to decline.

The study's state-by-state assessment found that abortions fell in some liberal states that have sweeping abortion protections, like California, and in some conservative states that have implemented sweeping restrictions, such as Texas.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards attributed the decline in part to improved access to contraception, noting the historic low in teen pregnancies

"It shows that we're finally doing a better job of helping women get access to birth control that's affordable and that's high-quality," Richards told NPR.

Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for Americans United for Life, meanwhile said the decline is a result of greater regulations on abortion clinics, including laws that require pregnant women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound.

"These have been game-changers, and we see the abortion rate dropping in response," Hamrick told NPR.

The report came 10 days before tens of thousands of pro-life activists are expected to descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life.

President-elect Donald Trump has said he would back Republicans in Congress who seek to withhold federal funding from Planned Parenthood.