Abortion Rates Drop By 5 Percent In US

Good news! The US abortion rate fell 5 percent between 2008 and 2009.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the details for 2009, the most recent year for which statistics are available, and noted that this was the biggest one-year decline in at least a decade.

Here’s what the CDC had to say:

In 2009, 784,507 legal induced abortions were reported to CDC from 48 reporting areas. The abortion rate for 2009 was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years and the abortion ratio was 227 abortions per 1,000 live births.

Compared with 2008, the total number and rate of reported abortions for 2009 decreased 5% and the abortion ratio decreased 2%. The change from 2008 to 2009 represented the largest single year decrease in the total number and rate of reported abortions for the entire period from 2000 to 2009. Additionally, from 2000 to 2009 the number, rate, and ratio of reported abortions decreased 6%, 7%, and 8%, respectively, to the lowest levels for this entire period.

It’s interesting to note that states report abortion numbers to the federal government, but it is voluntary, and California, Delaware, New Hampshire and Maryland chose not to do so. To compensate for this, even though experts estimated there are more than 1 million abortions nationwide each year, the CDC rounded that number down to about 785,000 in 2009.

As a woman, I am heartened to read of this decline. The decision to have an abortion is a harrowing one, undertaken usually in desperate circumstances, and certainly not a choice that any woman would relish having to make. So this is good news.

But what is the reason for this decline?

The recent limitations on access to abortion imposed by many states might seem like an obvious reason, but most of these misogynistic laws have been adopted in the past two years and so could not have been instrumental in this decline.

Others have suggested that the economy has played a big part: that American couples have become more careful about using contraceptives, since they cannot afford to become pregnant.

Still others have found a better explanation in the contraceptives women are using.

From The Washington Post:

A study published earlier this year looked at the usage of long-acting, reversal contraceptives, methods like interuterine devices, which tend to have much higher efficacy rates than birth control pills (in short, there’s a lot less room for user error).

That research, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, found that use of long-acting contraceptives tripled between 2002 and 2009. Most of that increase happened, however, in the last two years. The proportion of contraceptive users using this method increased from 2.4 percent in 2002 to 3.7 percent in 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, though, it shot up to 8.5 percent.

The growing use of IUDs, which are T-shaped plastic sperm-killers that a doctor inserts into a woman’s uterus, does indeed sound like a more plausible explanation for the drop in abortions, or at least a contributing factor.

Here are a few more findings from the CDC report:

-The majority of abortions are performed by the eighth week of pregnancy, when the fetus is about the size of an apricot.

-White women had the lowest abortion rate, at about 8.5 abortions per 1,000 women of child-bearing age; the rate for black women was about four times that. The rate for Hispanic women was about 19 per 1,000.

-About 85 percent of those who got abortions were unmarried.

Although there is no definitive proof as to exactly the reasons for this decline, the correlation is clear: the rate of abortions dropped at the same time that the use of better contraceptives increased.

Another possible factor is the availability of the morning-after pill, which has been increasingly easier to get. It came onto the market in 1999 and in 2006 was approved for non-prescription sale to women 18 and older. In 2009 the age was lowered to 17.

What do you think?


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Photo Credit: thinkstock


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago

:) good news

Mary B.
Mary B4 years ago

Strawman S........Your remark is inappropriate about such a sensitive subject......maybe you really DO find Jan Brewer "hot"......(from the article about coal for GOP members)

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill5 years ago

This is good news. I wish it was even better though. I would like for there to be no abortions performed and Planned Parenthood out of business. At the very least though, they should get absolutely NO tax dollars!

Albert L.
Past Member 5 years ago

Kevin W.,
Do you really believe these things should be done or are you just being facetious?

Kevin W.
Kevin W5 years ago

Albert L. We as a society have been teaching responsible sex via sex ed and health ed classes in public schools for 50 years. How's that working for us? The vast majority of pregnancies are still unplanned. Regarding foisting the responsibilty of child rearing onto men, it has been deemed perfectly fair and responsible to place the burden of child rearing onto one parent since the dawn of mankind - as long as that parent was a woman. Since the vast majority of lawmakers in this country are men, I say force them to do the child rearing and perhaps we will have more sensible public policy regarding every aspect of pregnancy, irresponsible sex, sex education, unwanted pregnancies and unwanted children. Perhaps we could implant all boys 14 and over with a chemical castration device. Each boy could deposit a sperm sample in a national sperm bank prior to the implantation and all pregnancies would then be achieved through artificial insemination but only after the person or couple desiring the pregnancy completed and passed an intensive parenting class and demonstrated the financial means necessary to properly care for a child. If the government can control people's ability to procreate then it can get out of the business of raisng unwanted children via food stamps, housing subsidies, medicaid and foster care programs.

Albert L.
Past Member 5 years ago

Kevin W.
So the rights that the women are fighting for we let them have them but force the men to raise the children? Where is the responsibility in that? Shouldn't we make both parents raise the child since it was consensual sex? Why give the man the majority of the responsibility and not make it equal between both people involved?

I'm totally fine with raising taxes. But only if we know exactly where they are going. Right now, it's all paper and fluff. We don't really know where it all goes. I would much rather that the be more responsible with the taxes they are given now, and then raise them once they are being responsible with what they have now.

You raise that many children by teaching people to be responsible. They don't have sex with someone unless they are both willing to take on the responsibility for any unplanned pregnancies.

Jennifer Ungureanu
Jennifer A5 years ago

How do you have a .1 abortion?

Kevin W.
Kevin W5 years ago

Correction from previous post: There's a great deal more to do for an unwanted child after you tell the mother she can't abort ...

Kevin W.
Kevin W5 years ago

Albert L. Although I am a firm believer in personal responsibilty, I am also a pragmatist. I know that the majority of pregnancies are unintended and hence I am a supporter of abortion rights. If we outlaw abortions, then we need to force biological fathers to raise their unwanted children with the option of jail if they don't. Let the mothers walk away care free and make the men raise the children and this argument will have a completely different dynamic. Additionally, since there are 6.5 to 7 times more unwanted babies of color aborted each year than white babies, then we must have a national law to force adoptions to take place at that rate. Anyone wanting to adopt puts their name in a lottery and only 1 out of 8 gets to adopt a white child, the other 7 must adopt from the pool of non white children. This would end the hypocrisy of white Christians railing against abortion who would never even consider adopting a non white baby. There is a great deal more to do for an unwanted child after you tell her she can't abort her child. And it seems that it's mostly conservatives against abortiion. Well if you don't want to raise taxes, how do you pay for the rearing of nearly a million unwanted children every year?

Albert L.
Past Member 5 years ago

Suba G.
It is true that a fetus probably doesn't feel pain until, at the earliest, 20 weeks gestation. It
may be later or possibly earlier. There is still a significant debate on the topic in the medical
community as to when this actually happens.

There are many born human beings who can’t feel pain. Some can’t feel pain temporarily (under
anesthetic or reversibly comatose) while others will never feel pain like Gabby.


Gabby is now 12 years old. Should her mother be able to terminate Gabby just because she can't feel pain? Gabby fits your assertion that an abortion can be done to a human if they are not able to feel pain. So it would follow that you would have no problem with her mother terminating her even in this late stage of life, right?

If we went with your premise that abortions are okay be the fetus can't feel pain, and if I'm correct in assessing that the earliest a fetus feels pain is around 20 weeks, would you agree that late term abortions are wrong?

My premise is that abortion is wrong primarily because it kills an innocent human being, not because it causes that human being pain.