Abortion rate drops to lowest level since Roe

posted at 10:41 am on February 3, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

That’s the good news, but the question is why. The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute released its findings last week, showing that the abortion rate has dropped 13% since 2008, and is now only slightly higher than it was after the Supreme Court declared abortion to be a doctor‘s right. Guttmacher believes it to be the cause of more universally available and increasingly effective contraception:

The study did not examine the reasons for the drop. But the authors suggested that one factor was greater reliance on new kinds of birth control, including intra-uterine devices such as Mirena, which can last for years and are not susceptible to user error like daily pills or condoms.

They also noted the economy as a contributing factor, because people tend to adhere more strictly to their birth control during tough economic times. But they did not credit the recent wave of state laws restricting access to abortion, because most of those took effect in 2011 or later.

Those restrictions will surely have an impact on the numbers going forward, said Rachel K. Jones, a senior researcher at Guttmacher and lead researcher on the paper.

“If the abortion rate continues to drop, we can’t assume it’s all due to positive factors” such as better adherence to contraceptives, she said, calling the laws passed in 22 states “onerous.”

Color me a bit skeptical on this explanation. The CDC did a long-range study on unplanned pregnancies (1980-2008) which found 99% of all sexually-active women wishing to avoid pregnancy had used contraception, although — and this is the key — not always effectively. The use of injectables and other longer-range contraception arrived well before 2008, especially IUDs, an abortifacient in use for decades. There hasn’t been a revolutionary discovery in contraception since 2008 and the end of this study, which would tend to suggest that the answer lies at least in part elsewhere.

In a press release this morning, the pro-life group Concerned Women for America declare victory in part through new legislation, and in part through greater education and expansion of the pro-life message:

Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization, issued the following statement:

“The bottom line is that Americans and specifically women have become increasingly pro-life. The pro-life message resonates especially with young women who have grown up seeing their own sonogram pictures. The debate on whether or not a child in the womb is a part of our human family is settled science. Concerned Women for America will continue to work to protect women and their babies through education, better options for mothers, and better laws.”

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Executive Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute (BLI):

“This Guttmacher report bends over backwards in trying to deny that record-setting pro-life legislation has made tremendous strides in curbing abortions in the United States. Further, the authors try to convince the American public that suddenly couples are using contraception better and timing the spacing of their children better, all the while denying the concrete data showing that abstinence education is improving the future for the nation’s teens and common sense legislation is exposing the profit-centered motivation of the abortion industry. Our young women are benefiting as fewer are engaging in too-early sex, fewer are choosing abortion, fewer doctors are willing to do abortions, and more clinics are closing.”

My colleague Peter Weber at The Week thinks this should be cheered by all sides, and calls for a truce in the culture wars:

Fewer abortions is something just about everybody can cheer, especially if the reason behind the drop isn’t contentious. What constitutes “contentious?” Anti-abortion advocates might frown on an increase in the Plan B morning-after pill, which prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg if taken soon after sex; the abortion-rights side would decry a drop caused by decreased access to abortion providers. …

So anti-abortion groups oppose medication-induced abortion and abortion rights groups oppose the increase in restrictions on abortion. Both sides — if only for this one moment — should find plenty to celebrate in this drop in the abortion rate. Not exactly peace in our time, but cause, certainly, for a brief pause in the thorniest battle of the culture war.

That’s unlikely, because this isn’t really a “culture war” item the way medicinal marijuana or even gay marriage is. The key question here isn’t the preservation of cultural norms, but of recognizing human life and its right to exist. In fact, it’s a clash of definitions; one side uses science to distinguish human life, while the other side measures it by convenience to others. That’s the core conflict here, and the reason there won’t be a “truce” just because we’re not snuffing out quite as many human lives last year as in the past. This debate will continue, and science will continue to make it a very uncomfortable debate for those who want human life to be disposable.


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Whoopty Doo, needs to be zero…

Scrumpy on February 3, 2014 at 10:44 AM

So how many have been killed off in numbers?

vityas on February 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Scrumpy on February 3, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Well it at least would seem to be moving in the correct direction regardless of the reasons.

Bmore on February 3, 2014 at 10:46 AM

This debate will continue, and science will continue to make it a very uncomfortable debate for those who want human life to be disposable.

I like this line.

Bmore on February 3, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Both sides — if only for this one moment — should find plenty to celebrate in this drop in the abortion rate.

The radical left pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood have no desire to see a drop in the abortion rate. As Rush has often said, abortion is the sacrament of the religion of liberalism. Not only is it Planned Parenthood’s cash cow, but it is also in line with their goal on everything from destroying our culture to reducing the population. “Safe, legal, and rare” has never been true. And it’s why the term “pro-abortion” is the accurate one. The left believes that abortion is the best decision a woman can make.

Shump on February 3, 2014 at 10:48 AM

I am happy about any reduction and have long since thought that the pro-life advocates are on the right track with education and promotion of other options, such as adoption.

Cindy Munford on February 3, 2014 at 10:50 AM

My explanation: the sample by which the rate is determined has grown larger.

nobar on February 3, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Guttmacher believes it to be the cause of more universally available and increasingly effective contraception:

According to Sandra “Hot Pants” Fluke, that can’t be so.

Akzed on February 3, 2014 at 10:51 AM

I applaud this trend. May it continue

neyney on February 3, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Teen birth rates are also at historic lows: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db89.htm

“Fewer babies were born to teenagers in 2010 than in any year since the mid-1940s.”

ZachV on February 3, 2014 at 10:52 AM

The key question here isn’t the preservation of cultural norms, but of recognizing human life and its right to exist.

Our government was instituted to secure our Creator-endowed, unalienable rights, including the right to LIFE itself.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted

ITguy on February 3, 2014 at 10:57 AM

That’s the good news, but the question is why.

Global Warming causes people to play outdoors…

Instead of keeping warm in bed..

/

Electrongod on February 3, 2014 at 10:59 AM

And the libbie mind continues to accuse the right of being 100% against birth control.

SMH (shakes my head)

pambi on February 3, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Still way too many…

OmahaConservative on February 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM

The baby killing lobby will portray this as a major problem.

Red Cloud on February 3, 2014 at 11:03 AM

So how many have been killed off in numbers?

vityas on February 3, 2014 at 10:45 AM

Just over 57 million since the SCOTUS ruled in Roe v. Wade…

According to the above link, PP since 1970, has performed just under 6.7 million abortions.

When 40% of all pregnancies in NYC that do not end in a miscarriage, are terminated via abortion, we have a problem. Within the African-American community, it’s 58% of all pregnancies that are terminated.

What we are seeing remains the vision of Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, and the other progressives who support eugenics and hold the people, in particular, minorities, in utter contempt. They are little more than tools, means to an end, for the progressives. The state is what is important, not individuals.

Athos on February 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

That it is Bmore, that it is, zero is an impossible number…

Scrumpy on February 3, 2014 at 11:18 AM

ZachV on February 3, 2014 at 10:52 AM

Yet, here in OK the teen birth rate increased… Le Sigh… ):

Scrumpy on February 3, 2014 at 11:20 AM

That’s the good news, but the question is why.

They stopped reporting them?

mrt721 on February 3, 2014 at 11:25 AM

Good to see you Scrumpy…

OmahaConservative on February 3, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Yet, here in OK the teen birth rate increased… Le Sigh… ):

Scrumpy on February 3, 2014 at 11:20 AM

Have marriage rates for teens increased relative to the overall OK first marriage rate? Any demographic links/info?

winoceros on February 3, 2014 at 11:31 AM

It IS time for abortion- an elective medical procedure- to go back to the clinical realm and out of the meat-market commodity industry it is now. It was where it resided before Roe v. Wade (Most states DID have legalized abortion- in THAT realm. It was legal, safe AND RARE! A LAST RESORT option and something to be avoided; NOT something your shrug off.)

michaelo on February 3, 2014 at 11:34 AM

one side uses science to distinguish human life, while the other side measures it by convenience to others.

That is not where the divide exists, Ed. Everyone agrees the embryo is a human embryo. The disagreement is as to whether or not the human embryo is a person (human being), and, as it develops, whether or not the human fetus with fingers and toes and a brain is a person.

Characterizing the other side as being anti-science because they disagree with you on the philosophical question of what constitutes personhood makes you sound demagogic. The disagreement here is not regarding the science.

fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

The drop in the abortion comes along with a drop in birth rate. This does suggests that there are fewer unplanned pregnancies. Maybe it is the economy driving the drop? But I am still glad that the women were able to get the abortion they wanted. This notion that thoughtless cells which possess a unique sequence of human DNA are someway more morally important than a turnip is most strange and unfortunate.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

This notion that thoughtless cells which possess a unique sequence of human DNA are someway more morally important than a turnip is most strange and unfortunate.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

More deflection. Its all you seem to have an excess of.

Bmore on February 3, 2014 at 11:45 AM

This notion that thoughtless cells which possess a unique sequence of human DNA are someway more morally important than a turnip is most strange and unfortunate.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

It is not strange at all. People who want a child start thinking of it being their child as soon as they know she is pregnant. This is a good thing.

So, socially speaking, that embryo is a child as of implantation. People who are used to thinking about their child that way are going to have difficulty conceiving of any other way to see any human embryo. Your way of seeing the embryo feels morally sick to them. You want to take the humanity away from their child.

This may sound like something to just shrug off as being a human confusion, but it is not nearly so simple. Do you want a man who impregnates a woman to feel responsible for the child?

The way we currently do things where the woman can kill it for her convenience but she can also decide the man is to be “punished with a baby” is what is really bizarre.

fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Call me cynical… but I think a major factor in the decline is the simple fact that all of the bra-burning feminazis of the 1960s and 1970s are no longer of child-bearing age.

VastRightWingConspirator on February 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Worshippers of Moloch such as Thuja and Armin hardest hit.

Fade,

they (and you if you support their fallacious reasoning) are anti-science because we are developing technology all the time to keep developing children alive at all stages in development. There are surgeries done in-utero to save the unborn child’s life, not murder him. Leftists worship at the altar of abortion because they believe their life is more valuable than any other. It’s also why they try and use class warfare to incite people. Who cares about that nondescript stranger when you should have a new big screen TV on his dime. Same concept.

njrob on February 3, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Within the African-American community, it’s 58% of all pregnancies that are terminated.

Athos on February 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

If conservative Republicans were behind this, it would be considered genocide.

Since liberals and progressives are the ones making this happen, it is considered…..choice.

Hey Libfreeordie, what do you think about the fact that 58% of future AA babies in NYC are killed off before they take their first breath?

SubmarineDoc on February 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Everyone agrees the embryo is a human embryo. The disagreement is as to whether or not the human embryo is a person (human being), and, as it develops, whether or not the human fetus with fingers and toes and a brain is a person…

The disagreement here is not regarding the science.

fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

In your opinion, at what point does the embryo/fetus/baby constitute a person?

Please give your specific, measurable, scientific reply.

In my opinion, there are only two indisputably specific points in a pregnancy… the two endpoints:
The beginning of the pregnancy (conception)
The end of the pregnancy (birth)

Everything else is a continuum in between, as the child develops in its mother’s womb and needs only time to develop to the point of viability. Any midpoint that you may choose (as the dividing line between not human life vs. human life) is arbitary…

Your life is legally recorded as having started at birth, but your body began growing at the moment of your conception.

ITguy on February 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM

This notion that thoughtless cells which possess a unique sequence of human DNA are someway more morally important than a turnip is most strange and unfortunate.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Whew! It’s a good thing that’s not what we’re talking about here then.

questionmark on February 3, 2014 at 12:13 PM

PETA cultists need to be called on their hypocrisy.

Fallon on February 3, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Fewer abortions is something just about everybody can cheer, especially if the reason behind the drop isn’t contentious.

Only if you really believe that the pro-abort side wants abortion to be rare. Look at what they do rather than what they say. They want the abortion rate to be high.

They may say, “Safe, legal, and rare.” But they really don’t care that much about “safe,” and are lying about “rare.” And they’re perfectly willing to break the laws on what’s legal, too.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 3, 2014 at 12:25 PM

“Safe, Legal, and Rare” doesn’t support a multi-million dollar industry.

Murphy9 on February 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM

When will Hillary stand up and take a victory lap for “safe, legal, and rare”?

Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

JEM on February 3, 2014 at 12:33 PM

one side uses science to distinguish human life, while the other side measures it by convenience to others.

That is not where the divide exists, Ed. Everyone agrees the embryo is a human embryo. The disagreement is as to whether or not the human embryo is a person (human being), and, as it develops, whether or not the human fetus with fingers and toes and a brain is a person.

Characterizing the other side as being anti-science because they disagree with you on the philosophical question of what constitutes personhood makes you sound demagogic. The disagreement here is not regarding the science.

fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

So the side that ignores the science is NOT anti-science?

If it’s anti-science to reject evolution and anti-science to reject global warming, then there is no way you can logically reject where the science is extremely clear and not be anti-science.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 3, 2014 at 12:33 PM

This notion that thoughtless cells which possess a unique sequence of human DNA are someway more morally important than a turnip is most strange and unfortunate.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

You, of course, are speaking from personal experience.

itsspideyman on February 3, 2014 at 12:39 PM

winoceros on February 3, 2014 at 11:31 AM

http://www.kjrh.com/news/local-news/teen-pregnancy-up-in-oklahoma-down-nationwide

http://www.kten.com/story/9648457/teen-pregnancy-rates-up-in-tx-and-ok

That’s all I have winoceros..

Scrumpy on February 3, 2014 at 12:55 PM

In your opinion, at what point does the embryo/fetus/baby constitute a person?

Please give your specific, measurable, scientific reply.

………..

ITguy on February 3, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Personhood is a philosophical question, not a scientific one. Science can be used to better understand the physical reality off of which one bases one’s philosophical outlook, but what constitutes a person is not decided by science.

My philosophical view is that in terms of society recognizing its personhood and protecting the fetus in the form of forcing the woman to carry it to term, the fetus should be regarded as a person at the beginning of the development of the brain.

However, parents can recognize its personhood anytime after conception, and society should consider that valid.

Also (burying the lede), I think it is damaging to a society to not regard a woman’s choice to engage in procreative behavior (sex) as taking responsibility for the new life that may result as a consequence even before the life has become a person.

fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 1:16 PM

The drop in the abortion comes along with a drop in birth rate. This does suggests that there are fewer unplanned pregnancies.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

.
Or a lot of pregnant women being kidnapped by ‘extraterrestrials’.
.

Maybe it is the economy driving the drop?

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

.
There are too many ways to interpret that.

Can you be more specific ?
.

But I am still glad that the women were able to get the abortion they wanted.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

.
Hurrah ! . . . . . for intra-uterine infanticide.

Just think of it … what if these ladies had to go through with nine months of gestation, and actually give birth ?
.

This notion that thoughtless cells which possess a unique sequence of human DNA are someway more morally important than a turnip is most strange and unfortunate.

thuja on February 3, 2014 at 11:40 AM

.
The fact that anyone really believes that, within their heart and soul, is damning of that (those) person(s).

listens2glenn on February 3, 2014 at 1:29 PM

Much to the socons’ chagrin, the abortion rate continues to drop without legislation. Another reason socons are irrelevant.

Panther on February 3, 2014 at 2:12 PM

Roe in combination with the 1961-1981 baby bust means there are fewer teens around to get pregnant and easy access to abortion when they do get pregnant. End result = fewer babies being born to teens.

Missy on February 3, 2014 at 2:21 PM

recognizing human life and its right to exist

What about recognizing that you should mind your own business?

Abortion rates are dropping because of information and education. Information and education that would not exist if socons had their way.

Moesart on February 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Information and education that would not exist if socons had their way.

Moesart on February 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Au contraire, mon frère.

ITguy on February 3, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Abortion rates are dropping because of information and education. Information and education that would not exist if socons had their way.

Information and education – you mean like ultrasounds that show the baby in the womb to its parents?

Socons are quite happily providing that information to pregnant women and their babies’ fathers every single day at crisis pregnancy cetners.

It’s the pro-choicers that are fighting tooth and nail to keep an abortion-minded woman from ever seeing her baby on the screen before she hands over the cash to the good folks at Planned Parenthood.

Missy on February 3, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Moesart on February 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Yeah, cause you libertine anything goes idiots would be pushing “education”.

Pathetic.

Murphy9 on February 3, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Anti-abortion advocates might frown on an increase in the Plan B morning-after pill, which prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg if taken soon after sex;

This quote is incorrect. If it were, anti-abortion advocates wouldn’t have a problem with Plan B. Plan B does nothing to stop fertilization, but prevents a fertilized embryo from attaching to the uterus wall. In essence, it causes an abortion.

Spacen on February 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Abortion rates are dropping because of information and education. Information and education that would not exist if socons had their way.

Moesart on February 3, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Show one single fact that substantiates that other than your fetid little imagination.

itsspideyman on February 3, 2014 at 2:58 PM

Much to the socons’ chagrin, the abortion rate continues to drop without legislation. Another reason socons are irrelevant.

Panther on February 3, 2014 at 2:12 PM

No, it’s because socons have led people to have a change of heart, looney-tune.

itsspideyman on February 3, 2014 at 3:00 PM

This quote is incorrect. If it were, anti-abortion advocates wouldn’t have a problem with Plan B. Plan B does nothing to stop fertilization, but prevents a fertilized embryo from attaching to the uterus wall. In essence, it causes an abortion.

Spacen on February 3, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Pregnancy is generally defined as occurring upon implantation, not conception. An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, so Plan B technically does not cause an abortion.

However, you are correct that Peter Weber is wrong about Plan B merely preventing fertilization. He probably heard it prevented pregnancy, and he made the same assumption you made.

fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Within the African-American community, it’s 58% of all pregnancies that are terminated.
Athos on February 3, 2014 at 11:17 AM

This is awful. For every 1000 babies born in NY to AA women, 1400 are aborted. Horrific.

cptacek on February 3, 2014 at 3:35 PM

That is not where the divide exists, Ed. Everyone agrees the embryo is a human embryo. The disagreement is as to whether or not the human embryo is a person (human being), and, as it develops, whether or not the human fetus with fingers and toes and a brain is a person.
fadetogray on February 3, 2014 at 11:36 AM

The argument has changed. Pro-aborts used to say it was just a blob of tissue and not human. They lost that argument, because of science and common sense, so they changed their argument. That has only happened in the last 5-10 years or so.

cptacek on February 3, 2014 at 3:37 PM

Well, let’s see… 2008 minus 15 years or so… That means the parents of the people now starting to factor into abortion statistics would have been born in the 70s… So this is the first generation of those born to people born since Roe…

Could it also be that the pro-abortion side has killed off a good portion of those–their offspring–they would have transmitted their pro-abortion values to? Meanwhile, pro-life people have allowed their offspring to live and accept and act on their values?

I don’t mean at all to imply it’s deserved by those who have been killed–that they definitely would have had abortions themselves so it’s good in some twisted way. Not at all. But it just seems logical that a movement based on killing off the next generation would experience a diminishment in members as it’s most likely future advocates are killed off and that that movement would be eclipsed in numbers eventually by a movement whose numbers are not thinned out prematurely.

butterflies and puppies on February 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM

It’s not a time to celebrate.
Whether it’s a million children per year murdered, or even if the number was to shrink to “only” dozens, until abortion-on-demand is outlawed, the USA will continue to have innocent blood on its hands.

itsnotaboutme on February 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM

butterflies and puppies on February 3, 2014 at 3:38 PM

I wonder if kids in that demographic ever look around and think how lucky they are that they are sitting in class and not ground up in Armin’s in-laws’ sink.

cptacek on February 3, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Call me cynical… but I think a major factor in the decline is the simple fact that all of the bra-burning feminazis of the 1960s and 1970s are no longer of child-bearing age.

VastRightWingConspirator on February 3, 2014 at 12:05 PM

.
. . . . . C Y N I C ! . . . . . </…
.
.
That really is as good an explanation for this trend, as any.

listens2glenn on February 3, 2014 at 5:33 PM