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Report: U.S. abortion rate lowest since ’73

Report: U.S. abortion rate lowest since ’73

The U.S. abortion rate declined to its lowest level since 1973, and the number of abortions fell by 13% between 2008 and 2011, according the latest national survey of abortion providers conducted by a prominent research institute.

The Guttmacher Institute, which supports legal access to abortion, said in a report being issued Monday that there were about 1.06 million abortions in 2011 — down from about 1.2 million in 2008. Guttmacher’s figures are of interest on both sides of the abortion debate because they are more up-to-date and more comprehensive than statistics compiled by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report says the abortion rate dropped to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in 2011, well below the peak of 29.3 in 1981 and the lowest since a rate of 16.3 in 1973.

Abortion rights groups have been apprehensive about the recent wave of laws restricting abortion access passed in Republican-controlled legislatures. However, the report’s authors said the period they studied — 2008 to 2011 — predates the major surge of such laws starting with the 2011 legislative session.

The lead author, Rachel Jones, also said there appeared to be no link to a decline in the number of abortion providers. According to the report, the total number of providers dropped by 4%, to 1,720, between 2008 and 2011, and the number of abortion clinics declined by just 1% to 839. According to Jones, the drop in abortions was likely linked to a steep national decline in overall pregnancy and birth rates. “Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods,” she said.

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Read the rest of this article at: www.freep.com

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