News / USA

US Abortion Rate at 40-Year Low

Ken Bredemeier
A new study says the abortion rate in the United States has dropped to its lowest level since the procedure was legalized throughout the country four decades ago.

A pro-abortion rights research group, the Guttmacher Institute in New York, says there were fewer than 17 abortions for every 1,000 women in 2011, the latest year for which statistics have been collected.  In all, about 1.1 million abortions were performed then.

The 2011 figure was 13 percent lower than in 2008, but slightly higher than in 1973, the year the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion.

The lead researcher for the Guttmacher report, Rachel Jones, says in a VOA interview that better birth control methods, such as the widespread use of intrauterine devices (IUDs) with their 99 percent success rate, have helped lower the U.S. abortion rate.

"There is a lot less room for user error because you know with the pill you have to remember to take it every day.  You can not forget it if you are traveling.  The same thing with patch and ring, even once a week or once a month, you have got to remember to change those out.  But with the IUD, once the health care provider puts it in, the woman does not have to think about it until she decides she wants to get pregnant and have it taken out," said Jones.

She said the weak U.S. economy since 2008 also contributed to the decline in both the U.S. abortion rate and the country's birth rate.

Abortion remains controversial.  In 2013, opponents of the practice enacted 70 new laws in 22 states to try to limit the procedure in various ways.  Abortion rights advocates have challenged the legality of some of the laws and the disputes could eventually be considered by the Supreme Court.

Jones said the U.S. abortion rate could continue to decline as women increasingly adopt "highly effective" means of birth control and as previously uninsured women gain access to free contraception provided under new national health care reforms.

But Jones said abortions could also be limited by new regulations being adopted by some state legislatures opposed to abortion.

"Since 2011, a lot of states have enacted a lot of onerous restrictions around abortion, and the concern is that, you know, [abortion] providers in certain states are going to have a harder time keeping their doors open.  Women are going to have a harder time getting to the providers that are there and this could also contribute to a decline in abortion, which would not be a good thing," she said.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs