New data indicates abortion rates are tanking across the country.
The abortion rate in the United States is down, big time. And both sides of the debate are cheering.
The rate has dropped by more than a third over the past two decades and is now at a record law, based on new federal data as reported by CBS News.
Abortions fell by 35 percent between 1990 and 2010, dipping to 17.7 procedures per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. That’s the lowest rate since abortion rates were tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention back in 1976.
The rate peaked in 1980, but abortion has declined steadily since then, said Sally Curtin, who is a statistician at the CDC and the lead author of the study, according to the report.
The pregnancy rate also reached an all-time low in 2010, which may explain the declining rates. Better access to birth control, as well as an increase in effectiveness of birth control, is almost certainly helping to drive those numbers. Pregnancy rates have been dropping for women under 30, and there has been a 67 percent reduction in pregnancy for teens 14 or younger, and a 50 percent reduction for teens between 15 and 19. Meanwhile, pregnancy rates are rising for women 30 and older, indicating that more women appear to want to wait to start families.
In a heavily contentious issue like abortion, there are always two very different sides to explain data like this. Planned Parenthood says that better access to contraception is driving the numbers, something scientists seem to agree with. Pro-life advocates, however, argue that people’s attitudes toward abortion are changing, and new laws that require women to consider alternatives is helping as well — although the statistics predate when such laws would have taken effect.
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