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November 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Yearly abortions in the United States dropped to their lowest number since 1973 in 2015, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

2015 saw 638,169 reported abortions, the Washington Examiner reports. That’s a 2% decrease from 2014, and a 24% decrease from 2006. The actual number of abortions is undoubtedly higher, as states aren’t legally required to report abortion data. Abortions in California, Maryland, and New Hampshire aren’t included at all in the report.

In comparing the CDC’s data to that of the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, the National Right to Life Committee’s most recent State of Abortion annual report notes that Guttmacher reports over 270,000 more abortions than the CDC did in 2014.

Pro-lifers have called for more stringent and comprehensive abortion reporting requirements, but in the meantime several trends can still be observed.

Of the abortions that were committed, almost 60% were for women in their twenties. Almost 60% of women who had abortions were already mothers, and almost 44% had previously had at least one other abortion.

Perhaps the most encouraging news was that teenage abortions have dropped 41% since 2006. Tragically, at least six women died from abortion-related complications in 2014 – all of which were from legal abortions, not back-alley procedures.

“Several stories have primarily credited increases in contraception use for the abortion-rate decline,” pro-life researcher Dr. Michael New, a Visiting Assistant Professor at Catholic University of America, wrote Wednesday at National Review. “In reality, a key factor behind the 50 percent abortion-rate decline since 1980 is the fact that a smaller percentage of unintended pregnancies now result in an abortion.”

“Pro-life legislative, political, and educational efforts have had a measurable positive effect,” he continued. “This new abortion data from the CDC should hearten pro-lifers across the country and give them some encouragement to continue their lifesaving work.”