While abortion appears to be in decline, the rate of chemical abortion is up.
A new study of U.S. abortion rates, taken by the Guttmacher Institute, reports their numbers are the lowest since the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. The pro-abortion research group found that in 2017, the most recent year from which data is available, there were 862,000 abortions performed in the United States, down about 7% from the 926,000 recorded in 2014 and nearly half of what it was during the 1990s.
The Guttmacher Institute cited several factors for the decrease, including the decline in unexpected pregnancy due to a greater accessibility to contraceptives and the nearly 400 abortion restrictions enacted throughout the nation since 2011. These aspects may not entirely explain the downward trend, however, as it noted that 57% of the decreases were found in states which experienced no reform.
AP news spoke to Michael New, a teacher of social research at Catholic University of America, who suggested that the Guttmacher report did not properly account for the efforts of pro-life activists. They report:
In 1981, he said, 54% of women with unintended pregnancies opted for abortion. That number fell to 42% by 2011.
“This shows that pro-life efforts to change public opinion, assist pregnant women, and pass protective laws are all having an impact,” New said in an email.
Although abortion appears to be in decline, the study did find one area in which it is increasing. Of the women who choose abortion, more than ever are utilizing chemical methods rather than surgical. Nearly 40% of abortions in 2017 were performed through chemical measures, also known as the abortion pill.
Angelus News spoke with Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, who said that the organization “celebrated” the new data. She went on to express concern over the increase in chemical abortion. She said:
“Although there has been a concerning 10% increase in chemical (Mifepristone, the RU-486 pill, used by women who are 10 weeks’ pregnant or less) abortions — which are harder on women and have less medical oversight — there is an overall movement away from abortion, evidenced by consistent public opinion polls that show vast majorities want to restrict the practice.”