Abortion rate hits lowest level since 1973

(RNS) The abortion rate in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since the procedure became legal in 1973, according to a new data analysis that reflects a 13 percent decline in both the abortion rate and the number of abortions from 2008 to 2011.
Laura Meyer of Manchester, Ohio holds a sign during March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Friday Jan. 25, 2013.  RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks.

Laura Meyer of Manchester, Ohio holds a sign during March for Life in Washington, D.C. on Friday Jan. 25, 2013. RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks.


This image is available for Web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The report being issued Monday (Feb. 3) by the Guttmacher Institute in New York finds the 2011 rate declined to 16.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44, second only to 1973, when the rate was 16.3 per 1,000. Declines were seen in all but six states — Alaska, Maryland, Montana, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wyoming — which saw either no change or an increase in abortion rates. “A 13 percent drop over a three-year time period is a pretty steep decline. It’s unusual,” says Rachel Jones, the lead author of the study by Guttmacher, a research organization that supports the right to legal abortion and seeks to expand access to information on sexual and reproductive health. Jones attributes the decline to more women using “highly effective contraceptive methods such as the IUD” and the fact that the study period was during the recession and sluggish recovery. “Births have been falling for awhile, and the recession certainly accelerated the decrease in births,” says economist Ted Joyce of Baruch College in New York, who has studied reproductive health since 1985. “When you consider the changes in contraception and the largest recession since the Great Depression, those two factors seem like compelling explanations for the decline,” he says. Guttmacher’s analysis this year is the first to study state restrictions, many of which increased beginning in 2011. The report says states enacted 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013, more than in the entire previous decade combined. However, the 2008-2011 study period doesn’t include that surge because many restrictions didn’t take effect until late 2011 or later. During the study period, 106 new abortion restrictions were implemented. “We didn’t find any clear associations between abortion restrictions and declines in abortion rates,” Jones said. “We saw drops in abortions in the states that had restrictions, but they were not substantially bigger than what we saw in other states.” “No evidence was found that the overall drop in abortion incidence was related to the decrease in providers or to restrictions implemented between 2008 and 2011,” the report says. Randall O’Bannon, of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington, D.C., which opposes abortion, views the new report as “significant progress.” “We’re seeing some tangible results,” he says. “Obviously, we have had some impact.” Whether the next report in three years will reflect continued declines depends on how the courts rule on state laws that would effectively restrict access to abortion providers, economist Joyce said. “The courts haven’t ruled whether these are constitutional,” he said. “It really depends on whether those more serious restrictions go into effect. If they do, you’re likely to see an increased decline in abortion rates.” The study, published online in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, also finds an increase in the proportion of abortions that were early medication abortion. The non-surgical procedure uses the drug mifepristone, often called the abortion pill or RU-486, or the drug misoprostol. An estimated 239,400 early medication abortions were performed in 2011, representing 23 percent of all non-hospital abortions, an increase from 17 percent in 2008, the report says. (Sharon Jayson writes for USA Today) KRE END JAYSON   The post Abortion rate hits lowest level since 1973 appeared first on Religion News Service.

23 Responses to “Abortion rate hits lowest level since 1973”

  1. nickbatt

    I liked “Remember it Well”. Perhaps it’s because of the reflection of love over time. To me that’s real love. That is where sex belongs. Since we’re addressing the poetic aspect of love and memory (a much better emphasis than before); and for all the ladies in the audience my contribution is “Remember When” by Alan Jackson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTA2buWlNyM . This may drive the skeptics among us crazy but bear with us, we can fight over things later.

    Reply
  2. Michele Joseph

    I think that’s a wonderful thing you are doing for your grand-children & I know your children will treasure it as well.
    Not only for the content, but will appreciate that you took the time to leave that gift for them. It is a act of love.
    Todays’ top article regarding Pope Francis further illustrates the point of memory.
    It shows that EVEN WHILE HE IS ALIVE, there is misinformation being disseminated. The srticle listd three cause.
    Check it out !
    It speaks directly to this issue.

    Reply
  3. Denis Eble

    Ah, Michele, I remember that song well. Thanks for the memories.for the past few years I have been trying to write my memoirs for my grandchildren- should they ever want to know. I knew neither of my grandfathers and that loss prompted me to begin to pen my life story.

    It is amazing how much one forgets along the way. I recall very few actual things that I uttered, no matter how important or profound. Currently in my writing I am in my grade school years, attempting to recall tidbits of events that happened 60 years ago. There is no doubt that my memory is selective as well as skewed in the direction of a specific theme that I wish to convey. Not all that I write is 100% accurate yet it fits what I hope to accomplish.

    Think of Matthew, Luke And John, for example- the later writers of gospels- writing some 80 to 100 years after the death of Jesus, a man they never knew. How can any quotations that they include in their story be true? Perhaps a parable or aphorism memorized and recited by the earliest followers would be accurately recorded, but clearly no long, complex statements. Those would rather be constructions of the authors rather than verifiable fact.

    Today’s science report adds credibility to the hypothesis that some New Testament scholars propose that no more than 20% of what the gospel authors put onto the lips of Jesus is accurate. The other 80% is imagined and selected to move the theme! the belief forward. Recall that each evangelist wrote not for us but rather for his own faith group. These were lessons not biography.

    On this snowy Wednesday, I ought to get back to my own writings which are marginally factual with a good dose of fiction- for effect!

    Reply
  4. Michele Joseph

    An addition to my last post, note that all throughout the song, they
    disagree on the details. But, when at last- she recalls that he was”a prince
    of love in every way” – at last – they agree.
    That’s what mattered- the essence,not the details

    Reply
  5. Michele Joseph

    Regarding the issue of memory:
    There is a tender song performed by Maurice Chevalier & Hermione Gingold,
    (one my favorite songs), called “I Remember It Well” that illustrates the very issuse of the inaccuracy of memory.
    Memory is affected by emotion.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sISWPzEqHLQ&sns=tw
    I hope this link works for those who are interested- it says it so beautifully !

    Reply
  6. Denis Eble

    On another note, I have an app for the website, Science Daily just next to Toledofavs. The difference in substance between the two is remarkable. Just 2 mm separates myth from reality, religion from science, speculation from evidence.

    Today’s lead on Science Daily regards human memory. Here is the summary paragraph:

    Your memory is a wily time traveler, plucking fragments of the present and inserting them into the past, reports a new study. In terms of accuracy, it’s no video camera. Rather, memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences to aid survival. Love at first sight, for example, is more likely a trick of your memory than a Hollywood-worthy moment.

    How is this information relevant for Toledo FAVS? I think the facts presented in the article challenge the authenticity of biblical entries. The stories, situations and especially quotations written there can hardly be accurate.

    “”Our memory is not like a video camera,” Bridge said. “Your memory reframes and edits events to create a story to fit your current world. It’s built to be current. All that editing happens in the hippocampus, the new study found. The hippocampus, in this function, is the memory’s equivalent of a film editor and special effects team.”

    This new discovery regarding our memories will further divide fundamentalists and non-fundamentalists. Each will dig their heels deeper to resist common ground. This is expected. However, this science discovery, in my opinion, weakens the stance of those who insist that Scripture ought to be accepted as literal truth.

    Reply
  7. nickbatt

    I grant that seeing the importance of keeping sex and procreation together is a tough idea to catch after 50 years of the culture pushing pill and free love. Still, if you’re concerned about “unwanted” children; about women being used as sex objects; or about men who remain boys unable to develop the life skills to sustain themselves and stuck in adolescence; consider how sex as recreation feeds all those social ills.
    There was a time in the not to distant past when children were always blessing. Never a problem to be avoided. Do you think that message hasn’t gotten through to our children? How many times have you heard parents describe one of their children as an “oops” even in front of that child. Whether said or not the message comes through that kids aren’t the center of the family. They’re, at best, a by-product of an activity whose primary purpose was the gratification of the adults.
    Same with women. “all he wants is sex” or “I’m nothing but a sex object to him” is a far too common complaint I’ve heard from women who have come to realize how little they matter. The current “hook up” culture among the young is rooted in this devaluing of the act we once referred to as the “marital” act. I’ve never heard a woman praise the value and meaning of a one night stand. Love has become a word for a bodily function that needs to be relieved. Like scratching an itch or going to the bathroom.
    Nor do men escape the trap of cheap sex. There’s few things as pathetic as a guy trying to pick up a girl in a bar—especially if he’s over 30. The booze helps dull the awkwardness but it’s still the junior high dance all over again. The endless quest for one more girl. The frustration of failure and the cheapness of success. Marriage civilizes men. It directs their energy towards building a family and give them a place to be wanted.

    Reply
  8. Sean

    Scientist state that life begins at the cellular level.

    Reply
  9. Patrick O'Gara

    “But I can’t help but think that if even a bird waits till it has a nest before it lays its eggs, that humans should be capable of that level of cognition. “
    But what if you’re a cuckoo human, Nick, or a human cuckoo?

    “The philosophical problem is that contraceptive technology has allowed sex to be separated from procreation. The result is that it’s now just recreation. I don’t believe that’s good for kids, women or men.”
    Unusual to hear “recreation,” come under attack, but there we are.
    Particularly as it’s the only recreation some people get.
    …Apart from eating “Big Macs” and drinking gallons of “Coke”, of course.
    (That’s why the Muslims will win.)
    …And do you think that reading a book just for “recreation,” rather than to gain vital knowledge – is somehow sinful, Nick?
    No!!

    Reply
  10. Michele Joseph

    It’s very common for young men & women to fall in love and marry well before they are ready to have children.
    To delay gives time for the couple to bond, to spend time on each other & their relation-ship. That helps build a strong marriage.
    It also allows each partner to finish school & begin a career.
    Money can be saved, a house can be bought- the nest in which to “lay the egg”
    The child comes to two, strong, mature people who are in a strong relationship, who know each other well.
    A very stable situation. A house. A room of his own. Starting school in the school system he will stay in. Part of a community . Stability.
    That’s what you do for a child you love.You want him to have all that.You can’t do that if you’re popping out babies like flap-jacks
    There is another reason for sex, besides procreation& recreation- love.
    The best reason. Without love, nobody has any business procreating or recreating.
    Making the best environment you can for a child takes time & money.
    Every child deserves to get your very best.

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  11. Denis Eble

    Nick oddly states, “I believe part of the reason is because of the contraceptive mentality that pervades our culture.”

    So you disdain abortion as well as contraception?

    Sterility? Iron Maiden? Nunnery?

    Reply
  12. nickbatt

    I recognize that “unwanted” is usually used to describe the feelings of the birth mother. I also realize that casual sex and birth control are pretty common even among those who profess religious faith that teaches against it. But I can’t help but think that if even a bird waits till it has a nest before it lays its eggs, that humans should be capable of that level of cognition. The philosophical problem is that contraceptive technology has allowed sex to be separated from procreation. The result is that it’s now just recreation. I don’t believe that’s good for kids, women or men.
    The logic of being able to afford kids doesn’t sell me either. If kids are optional at conception then they’re optional later too. We see that too often. The foster care system is full of kids wanted at birth but now put second place behind drugs, men, careerism, etc.I believe part of the reason is because of the contraceptive mentality that pervades our culture.
    Finally, I know there is a debate about when the soul enters the fetus. St. Thomas Aquinas postulated that it was when you could feel the baby move. Science now shows the unique DNA from the moment of conception. That’s when I think it occurs. If anyone isn’t sure, I’d say err on the side of life.

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  13. Michele Joseph

    Nick Batt: by “unwanted” I meant this: there are LOADS of children who were
    unintentionally conceived. Not tried for. “Oops!” Not aborted. Accepted,but not
    WANTED, planned for, prayed for tried for.
    If everyone used contraception, all children would be DESIRED. Intentionally
    conceived, at a point in the lives of the parents when they could afford it,when they were best prepared.

    Reply
  14. Denis Eble

    Nick, your ‘personal’ anecdotes do not nullify the truth of the broad spectrum.
    I know a family of 6 who confess that NFP did not work for them. Sorry to burst your bubble.

    Regarding this statement: “The criticism that Pro-Lifers don’t support moms who choose to keep their children isn’t true now if it ever was.” This is NOT what I suggested in my comment. Quit making things up!

    I said that many Republicans who vote the ProLife agenda elect congressmen who do not follow a ProLife agenda which, by the way, lasts 18 years, not 9 months.

    Regarding those crisis centers, did you know that there was a home in East Toledo for pregnant girls run by the Sisters of Notre Dame that had to close its doors several months ago and send the girls elsewhere because funding dried up?

    Apparently ‘your church’ didn’t collect enough money to keep the program going!

    Reply
  15. nickbatt

    The fact of the matter is that “unwanted” children are non-existent in this country. People pay thousands to adopt through agencies and 10 times that much in private adoptions. I personally know a couple that spent over $100,000 and spent six weeks overseas to complete an adoption. I also know a couple who adopted two kids they knew had special needs. I even know of a couple who adopted a baby where the birth mom didn’t go to the abortion clinic till she was too far along.
    The criticism that Pro-Lifers don’t support moms who choose to keep their children isn’t true now if it ever was. Just call any crisis pregnancy center and you’ll see. My church has an annual collection specifically for their support.
    Finally, I had an aunt & uncle who had 4 kids in 4 years; bought a farm with a 10 yr mortgage; then when it was paid off had 4 more kids in 4 years. Don’t tell me natural family planning doesn’t work but even if it didn’t kids used to the thought of as a gift from God. Now their just another trinket to be used to make us feel good about ourselves.

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  16. Michele Joseph

    I remember the old joke- what do you recall folks who use the natural method?—parents!

    Reply
  17. Denis Eble

    “For married folks natural methods are available but that is too involkved to discuss here.”

    That natural method was often used by couples with 5-6-7 children. They’ dally show up at Sunday Mass. Oddly, that’s a rare sight these days. Gosh, I wonder what happened?

    Reply
  18. Michele Joseph

    My friend ; as I have said: people will do as they will: please save the babies.
    I must admit : I have no honest solution for our children.
    I Must admit — no solution for the unwanted,. I have desired babies from the first day and cannot anything but from day one. You are clearly , on this regard ,a moral man. but none-nonethess. moral.
    I had babies, children on the autism spectrum .I did no explanation, no drugs not even caffeine,no alcohol.. I think , maybe , their is some control over who is. and who is not.It is a proposition. – Who loved enough red, who loved enough ? Who found -
    propositioned at the time ! I”m sure you will object, i’m sure you will find
    fault.However, you will come e to find objections ,You are in my graduating class
    , I don’t know who you are . I am sure you are among those who bullied me today for the reasons who appeared today for reasons too profound .
    I have never understood you, except for reasons my father understood you to explain your ridicule if me . And I love you . You are my people and you betrayed me I go to the Christians for love- And God bless you – you are His Own.God bless you & your children & your children’s children & when you will come to care for your own. -for it is then that you have become a human being. Good night.
    Gods’ love of His Own, Amen . Amen.
    He loved you all & and yey you scoffed,….. no matter, tne end is nigh
    God help you.

    t00 autisti

    Reply
  19. Michele Joseph

    I do appreciate your regard for babies.
    I tried for ten years of my own, Thank God He gave me my wish.
    My daughter, 21 & my son 27, both autistic, but each miracles & angels.
    Thank you for your appreciation of Gods’ babies. We are here to protect them.

    Reply
  20. Michele Joseph

    Hello Nick Batt. I do appreciate your regard for human life.
    It is a matter if faith .
    When does the soul associate with the body ? Does anyone know ?
    Are you sure ?
    This is a matter of faith.
    I recall the bracelets we got when Roe vs.Wade happened. Do you ?
    However, let’s get real, O.K.
    We both recognize how imortant, but not everybody thinks the same.
    Save babies. Use contraception.
    It’s the realistic thing to do.
    Save the babies. m.
    Your friend.

    Reply
  21. nickbatt

    While abortion is a grave immorality, contraception is also viewed by some of us as immoral because many methods of contraception are in fact abortifacent but also because contraception destroys part of the natural union of the cells to form a child. This reduces the intimacy to recreation. The promiscuity of our time and the resulting devaluing of sexual intimacy, and of women is a tragedy. Our society is paying a steep price for this recreation. The time to prevent pregnancy is before sexual intimacy begins for unmarried folks. For married folks natural methods are available but that is too involkved to discuss here.

    Reply
    • Denis Eble

      All quite proper, Nick, directly from the Right to Life handbook. Succinct, righteous and holy.

      I still receive mail from that organization, addressed to my long-dead mother. I note on occasion that some politician will be in town to speak and raise money. Republicans, of course. The GOP continues to scam it’s constituents by claiming to be ‘the’ party that cares for the family. ‘Family values’ is their slick moniker. So is ‘Right to Life.’

      Slick phrases. Fairly vacuous. Nonetheless, they hoodwink many to vote for the Republican candidate election after election. Those white suburban and rural Christian voters show up on Election Day and believe that they are casting their vote for ‘God’s Own Politician.’ It is almost a spiritual experience.

      Well, it doesn’t take too long before God’s Own Politician begins to cast votes. Votes for war, votes against food stamps, votes against welfare, votes against a minimum wage, votes for corporate welfare, votes against health care, votes against the environment, votes against nutrition subsidies, votes against student lunches, votes against safety regulations, votes against gun regulation, votes for obscene spending for armaments…

      Oh, the GOP fights to ‘save’ the baby, but that slap on the butt just after the birth, is the hand of right-wing legislators as a reminder of the harsh living conditions ahead of them. Right to Life. Right to a decent life as well!

      Reply
  22. Michele Joseph

    I find this to to tie in with earlier recent articles about contraception.
    I stand with those who think it’s irrational to be against both abortion & contraception.
    I’m against abortion. Without a doubt.
    There is no reason for it any more.
    But, should a woman be forced to bring forth a child she can’t afford,
    or- infinitely worse, doesn’t want?
    My vote- contraception! From menses on !
    No more unwanted children !
    The ideal !

    Reply

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