WASHINGTON, December 4, 2002 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The number of abortions in the U.S. fell below 862,000 in 1999, continuing a steady decline that started in 1991, according to the latest surveillance report form the Centers for Disease Control. The abortion ratio (number of abortions per 1,000 live births) reached the lowest level since 1975—a total of 256 abortions per 1,000 live births, a 3.2 percent decline from 1998. However, the abortion rate remained at 17 abortions per 1,000 women as in 1997 and 1998.  Pro-abortionists credit more widespread use of contraception and “emergency contraception,” leading to fewer “unwanted” pregnancies and abortions, according to Vicki Saporta of the National Abortion Federation. But pro-lifers like Laura Echevarria of the National Right to Life Committee prefer to believe it is a result of more widespread knowledge about pre-born life.  Other highlights are that 137,396 abortions were performed on teens, 60 percent of them 18- and 19-year-olds. 57% percent of abortions were performed at 8 weeks or less and 20 percent were performed between nine and 10 weeks gestation, while 9,643 abortions (1.5% of the total) were performed later than 21 weeks (5 months) gestation.  For Washington Times coverage see:  http://www.washtimes.com/national/20021204-95469796.htm   For a Center for Disease Control news release, watch for updates at:  http://www.cdc.gov/