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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid