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(LifeSiteNews) — Pro-life organization Operation Rescue published an early release of its 2023 report this week, celebrating the shuttering of dozens of abortion facilities but warning of the rise of chemical abortions. 

“Cities that had abortion mills in full operation are now abortion free,” Operation Rescue declared in its 42-page report published Wednesday. “When clinics close, babies are saved!” 

Dozens of abortion clinics shuttered, but new clinics have opened

According to the report, 49 abortion facilities either closed down entirely or at least halted abortions this year.

Credited to Operation Rescue senior policy adviser Anne Reed, project manager Sarah Neely, and the Operation Rescue Team, the report added that “14 states are abortion free, with laws in place that protect incalculable numbers of innocent babies from being murdered in the womb.” 

The 2023 report added Indiana to the list of abortion-free states and removed Wisconsin after Planned Parenthood locations resumed operation in the state this year.

READ: Indiana had no abortions in August after pro-life law took effect: report

Operation Rescue’s reported numbers come after the New York Times estimated this summer that “[a]t least 61 clinics, Planned Parenthood facilities and doctors’ offices stopped offering abortions in the last year,” most of which were located in the 14 states that had implemented near-total abortion bans.

The pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute found that 66 clinics in 15 states stopped killing preborn babies in just the first 100 days after the overthrow of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2022. Operation Rescue has estimated that 88 total abortion facilities stopped providing abortions last year.

While some abortion facilities have shut down or stopped killing preborn babies for good, others have relocated and new clinics have opened. Operation Rescue reported that 53 abortion facilities had “either opened or resumed” abortions this year.

According to the report, 17 states saw their overall number of abortion clinics decline in 2023, while 11 states (including California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Mexico) saw an increase in total abortion facilities.

The “services” provided by the newly opened or reopened abortion facilities gives a strong indication of the direction the abortion industry is taking in the post-Dobbs, post-COVID era in which more and more abortions are being carried out via internet prescription of abortion-inducing drugs.

Chemical abortions on the rise

Operation Rescue reported that 79 percent of the newly opened or reopened facilities only provide abortion drugs, and the remainder, 21 percent, perform surgical abortions. Of those that carry out surgical abortions, 99% also prescribe the drugs.

The group cited that pro-abortion Society of Family Planning’s “#WeCount Report,” which said in October 2023 that abortions committed via lethal drugs sent by online abortion providers spiked 72 percent after the overthrow of Roe v. Wade last year and now represent some 8 percent of all U.S. abortions.

As LifeSiteNews has reported, the Biden administration temporarily suspended the FDA ban on mailing abortion drugs in 2021, citing reasons connected to the COVID pandemic. After the Dobbs decision, the federal government made the temporary change permanent, permitting the wide-scale distribution of abortion drugs across the country.

The federal lawsuit Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine (AHM) v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), filed in November 2022, seeks to challenge FDA approval of the abortion drugs.

National abortion rate 

According to the October “WeCount Report” cited frequently by legacy media outlets, pro-life states that completely banned abortion accordingly recorded a sharp decrease in abortions. However, the data also suggests that abortion-related travel has simultaneously occurred, resulting in higher abortion rates in “surge” states, including California, Florida, Illinois, New Mexico, and North Carolina.

Per the report, the 14 states with near-total abortion bans saw 115,000 fewer legal abortions this year while 117,000 more legal abortions took place in the nearly three dozen states in which the murder of the preborn is legal. 

But that data has been critiqued by pro-life expert Michael New.

“There is less here than meets the eye,” he wrote for National Review. “First, there is a key methodological shortcoming with the #WeCount estimates. The #WeCount project compares a year of post-Dobbs abortion data to only two months of pre-Dobbs abortion data.”

“This is problematic for two reasons,” New said. “First, two months is a relatively small sample size of pre-Dobbs data. Abortion totals in April and May of 2022 may not be reflective of abortion totals in other months prior to the Dobbs decision.”

Moreover, New said, “Texas and Oklahoma were already enforcing strong pro-life laws before Dobbs. That makes the abortion declines in these states after Dobbs appear less dramatic.”

The October report suggesting a slight increase in nationwide abortions post-Dobbs comes after an earlier report in which the group suggested that nationwide abortions had actually substantially declined in the six months immediately after the landmark SCOTUS ruling. 

READ: Pro-life expert exposes flaws in study claiming abortion pills cancel out pro-life laws

The future of the pro-life effort

Operation Rescue president Troy Newman said the 2023 numbers suggest that the overthrow of 49 years of federal abortion precedent has “undoubtedly” had the effect of “saving lives,” but cautioned that the fight is far from over.

“And the enduring efforts of faithful Americans on the pro-life side are paying off and having a winning effect,’ he said.

“We celebrate countless babies saved in communities all over the nation as a result of 14 states becoming abortion free,” Newman continued. “Daughters, sons, and grandchildren live today that would not have lived otherwise.

Regardless, he pointed out, the “findings reveal an alarming rise in dangerous mail-order abortions.”

“While the pro-life community has much to celebrate, the pro-death crowd continues to find methods of killing as many human beings as possible,” he said. “The prayers and work involved in exposing the evil behind the Abortion Cartel is more important than ever!”