By Michael New, Ph.D
Last month the Guttmacher Institute released updated abortion statistics for the United States. Their latest survey of abortion facilities indicate that the number of abortions fell by approximately five percent between 2011 and 2014. The short-term abortion decline is unsurprising.
However, what is interesting about these new abortion statistics is that the U.S. abortion rate has reached a historic low. Guttmacher has been collecting comprehensive abortion data from U.S. abortion facilities since 1973. The 2014 abortion rate is 14.6 abortions per every thousand women of childbearing age. That is a decline of over 50 percent since 1980. Even more importantly, the U.S. abortion rate is lower than it was in 1973 – the year that Roe v. Wade was decided.
This milestone is more important than many people realize. When the Roe v. Wade decision was handed down in 1973, there was still considerable cultural resistance to legal abortion. The modern policy debate over legalizing abortion was about six years old and supporters of legal abortion were losing momentum.
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