Abortion Rates Falling Across the United States

The numbers are in and it looks like women in the US continue to have fewer abortions every year. Indeed, contrary to what is apparently the popular belief, the abortion rate has been on the steady decline and is now at its lowest rate on record since the landmark Roe vs Wade Supreme Court ruling of 1973.

For one unintended pregnancies fell from 51 percent to 45 percent between 2008 and 2011, which has subsequently resulted in fewer women considering abortion. This is according to a recent survey: “Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2014,” which was authored by Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman for the Guttmacher Institute. This is a nonprofit research organization that supports legalized abortion.

While the report authors did not necessarily look for a specific reason for this decline in abortion rates, they suggest that it could be attributed to, perhaps, two contrasting social development:
• more and/or better contraceptive use
• new abortion restrictions introduced across several states over the past few years

Lead study author Rachel Jones comments, “The majority of abortion patients — 75 percent — are poor or low-income, and nearly two-thirds are already parents. It can be very difficult for them to arrange for time off from work, transportation and child care.”

She goes on to say, “While many find ways to access care despite these obstacles, some of the abortion rate decline is likely attributable to women who were prevented from accessing needed services.”
Still, perhaps the best explanation for this hopeful phenomenon is that long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) use—like the IUD and other implants—increased by 130 percent among women in the United States, particularly between 2007 and 2009.

LARCs are far more reliable and, inversely, are less likley to fail than birth control pills or even condoms (which has long been the advisory standard). Indeed, LARCs fail less than 1 percent of the time, compared with a 9 percent failure rate for birth control pills and a somewhat surprising 18 percent failure rate for condoms.