The 2016 election results have brought the abortion debate front and center, and a woman’s right to choose will be under vigorous attack for the next four years. But, thanks to contraception access, the abortion rate is the lowest it has ever been in U.S. history — which makes it even more frightening that Paul Ryan has vowed to federally defund Planned Parenthood and reduce women’s access to affordable contraception.
According to a report released this week by the Guttmacher Institute, there were 926,200 abortions in 2014 — a 12.5 percent decrease from 2011, when 1.06 million abortions were tallied.
The decrease was nationwide, with the number of abortions increasing in only six states over the past three years.
The Guttmacher Institute’s report states that the abortion rate was 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in 2014 — the lowest since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling in 1973. After abortion was legalized nationwide, the number of abortions per year rose until 1990, when it began to decline.
Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, the authors of the report, believe the recent decline is due to two factors — the accessibility of affordable contraceptives, and an increase in abortion restrictions in certain states that has forced clinics to close their doors and made it difficult for women to access the procedure.
The report showed that abortions had declined in liberal states like California, where abortions rights are protected, and conservative states such as Texas, where laws restricting abortions have been passed.
The majority of women who get abortions fall into the low-income bracket, and almost two-thirds already have children.
President-elect Donald Trump has said that he’ll sign measures to defund Planned Parenthood (which provided more than one-third of the nation’s abortions in 2014) and ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The progress that’s been made in reducing unwanted pregnancies will be threatened if the GOP is successful in its efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, a major provider of affordable contraceptives, and repeal the Affordable Care Act, which also increased access to affordable contraception.
The report provides more evidence as to why it’s so important to fight back against Republican measures that will cut off women’s access to affordable contraception.