News

U.S. abortion rate has fallen by one-third since 1990: CDC report

Pro-life leaders ascribe the drop in abortion to legislation affirming the right to life and a culture shift that sees more women reject abortion as an alternative.
Fri Dec 11, 2015 - 3:43 pm EST
Featured Image

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 11, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - The Centers for Disease Control has released its second report in three weeks showing a sharp decline in the U.S. abortion rate.

On November 25, the CDC reported that the number of abortions had dropped to 699,202 in 2012, less than half of the peak of over 1.5 million reached in the late 1980s.

Now a new report, released today, shows that the U.S. abortion rate declined by more than one-third during the two decades between 1990 and 2010.

While the number of pregnancies fell to its lowest rate since 1986, the abortion rate fell faster yet. There were 15 percent fewer pregnancies in 2010 than 1990 - but the number of abortions fell by 35 percent. Not all states report their abortion numbers.

The number of reported abortions (17.9 percent of all pregnancies) is now nearly the same as the number of miscarriages (17.1 percent). About 65 percent of all pregnancies result in a live birth.

The reduction in abortion rates affected all ethnic groups. Non-Hispanic white women had the sharpest reduction in abortions (50 percent), followed by Hispanic women (42 percent) and African-Americans (29 percent).

In all, Hispanic women were most likely to give birth, with non-Hispanic whites and blacks falling behind them. African-American women were disproportionately affected, suffering the highest abortion rate and also most likely to lose a child due to miscarriage.

The CDC report did not announce outcomes based on economic status or educational attainment.

Pro-life leaders ascribe the drop in abortion to legislation affirming the right to life and a culture shift that sees more women reject abortion as an alternative.

"People's attitudes and actions regarding abortion have changed," Randall O'Bannon, director of education and research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, told CBS News. Many analysts point to reduced stigma surrounding out-of-wedlock births as a contributing factor.

The CDC has noted the role pro-life laws and abortion facility closures play in reducing the abortion rate. Kathryn Kost, principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute and the report's co-author, downplayed the role of pro-life legislation, saying legislative activity spiked after their study concluded in 2010.

Some 189 pro-life bills became law between 2001 and 2010, according to the Guttmacher Institute. But legislators enacted 231 new pro-life laws in the next four years.

“As the numbers from 2012 and 2013 come in, we can expect to be a dramatic decrease in the number of abortions nationwide, since this is when the flood of pro-life legislation as a result of conservative gains in the 2010 midterm elections goes into effect,” Cheryl Sullenger, senior policy adviser at Operation Rescue, told LifeSiteNews earlier this year.

Women are putting off having children until later in life, as well. The number of women having children in their 40s has increased 70 percent since 1990. Teen pregnancies were more than cut in half during that time frame, with the youngest pregnancies (those age 14 and under) reduced by 67 percent.


  abortion, abortion rate, birthrate, centers for disease control