The Guttmacher Institute has released a new report about abortion in the United States. According to the report:
The abortion rate in the U.S., which has declined steadily since a 1981 peak of more than 29 abortions per 1,000 women, stalled between 2005 and 2008, at slightly less than 20 abortions per 1,000 women.
The report is made entirely of statistical data and offers no explanation for the decline of the abortion rate. Some have attributed the decline of the economy to the plateau of abortions obtained by women in the U.S.
The report also discusses the use of the abortion pill, mifepristone, and the availability of abortions. One positive effect of the legalization of mifepristone, which we wrote about in September, is its potential to increase abortion access for women in areas where surgical abortions are not an option. The theory is to make the right of choice available to every woman. The report notes that “about 17 percent of all 2008 abortions, and more than a quarter of those performed before nine weeks of gestation, were medical abortions.”
This increase in medical abortions is shows not only greater access to the procedure, but also a safer option for women:
Rachel Jones, lead author of the Guttmacher report, sees the increase in medication abortions as good news, because such abortions occur early in pregnancy, when abortion is safest.
These statistics are good news for women’s health advocates, yet there is still a lot of ground to cover. Despite the fact that medication abortions are becoming more available, the study also found that “87 percent of U.S. counties had no abortion provider, and 35 percent of women of reproductive age lived in those counties.”
It is still disheartening that so many women do not effectively have the right to choose because of a lack of access. We’re glad that the Guttmacher Institute continues to shed a light on all the progress, and the work still left to be done.