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January 17, 2008

Abortions Down 25% Since 1990

Fewer women choose abortions, and those that do increasingly use morning-after medication to accomplish it, according to a new study from a pro-abortion group. The rate of all abortions continues to drop, and has now reached its lowest level since 1990:

A comprehensive study of abortion in America underscores a striking change in the landscape, with ever-fewer pregnant women choosing abortion and those who do increasingly opting to avoid surgical clinics.

The number of abortions has plunged to 1.2 million a year, down 25% since peaking in 1990, according to a report released today -- days before the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion.

In the early 1980s, nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women chose abortion. The most recent data show that proportion is closer to 1 in 5.

"That's a significant drop, and it's encouraging," said Randall K. O'Bannon, director of education and research for the antiabortion group National Right to Life.

The study indicates that the drop does not come from any increase in restrictions on access to abortion, but from a change in "socio-cultural mores" that disfavor abortion as an option. As an example, two states that have traditionally provided fairly easy access and plenty of cultural support for abortion had the largest declines in the procedure. Abortion rates in California and Oregon dropped 13% and 25% respectively, the latter being the biggest drop in the nation.

At one point, the abortion rate in the US had one in three pregnancies terminated. Now we're at one in five. That's progress, and it's the kind of progress that a new focus on education as opposed to litigation has achieved. Rather than focus on legal barriers to abortion, which have failed on the Roe foundation, pro-life groups have put more focus on counseling and outreach, and it seems to have had an effect.

We still have a long way to go, even to meet the standard professed by pro-abortion politicians that abortion should be "safe, legal, and rare". It's not rare when 1.2 million babies are aborted every year. For a longer explanation of my position on abortion, see this post.


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