Pro-Life Movement Victorious at Curbing Abortions

In their most recent report, released Monday, the Guttmacher Institute finds that U.S. abortion rates are at their lowest levels since 1973. They claim there is "no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the number of abortion providers." We are to assume, I suppose, that, incredibly, everyone has become much more effective users of birth control and, besides, the economic recession made couples delay having children. Excuse me! If the couples wanted the child, they would not have considered an abortion anyway.

I don't think those assertions pass the laugh test. States have enacted more abortion restrictions in the past three years than in the entire previous decade combined, and there has been a drop in the number of abortion providers, but those changes had absolutely no effect on abortion rates? I wonder why, then, they quote Elizabeth Nash, issues manager at Guttmacher, who says the restrictions are making it harder for women to access abortions and equally hard for clinics to remain open and functioning.

"Methinks," as the saying goes, "they protest too much!"

Actually, according to their own figures, as reported in "Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2011," by Rachel Jones and Jenna Jerman, the U.S. abortion rate dropped from its 1981 peak of 29.3 abortions per 1,000 to only 16.9 in 2011 for the relevant age group (women 15-44). That is a very precipitous drop, with the most dramatic declines, 13 percent, occurring since 2008. Actually, during the period after 2011, both the rate and the number of abortions declined by 13 percent.

Also interesting is that Guttmacher acknowledges that "early medication abortion makes up an increasing proportion of all abortions," but also admits that the availability of medication abortion has not led to more women having abortions. It has, however, moved more abortions to earlier in pregnancies rather than later.

I found it particularly interesting to note which states and regions were more or less pro-life. Guttmacher found that abortion declines were steepest in the Midwest (17%) and the West (15%). In the South (12%) and Northeast (9%) the declines were not as dramatic, but were still noteworthy.

While the study did not look at reasons for the decline, the lead author of the study, Rachel Jones, declared authoritatively that there was no "evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions. We also found no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the number of abortion providers during this period."

Guttmacher is definitely worried; they reported their own research revealing that states enacted 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013, more than in the entire previous decade combined. The study author stated, "Over the past three years, we have seen an unparalleled attack on abortion rights at the state level, and these new restrictions are making it harder for women to access services and for providers to keep clinic doors open." She added, "As we monitor trends in abortion going forward, it is critical that we also monitor whether these state restrictions are preventing women who need abortion services from accessing them."

Everyone who cares about girls and women should be concerned about the fact that medication abortions are becoming more common. Nearly a quarter (23%) of all non-hospital abortions -- about 239,400 -- were early medication abortions in 2011, and about 60 percent (59%) of known abortion providers offer abortion pills. They are also available over the counter with pro-abortion advocates lobbying for their availability for younger and younger girls. The risks of these pills have been documented, not just scientifically, but also in the lives lost and harmful side effects that girls and women have endured from the unsupervised ingestion of these pills.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion activists are determined to make abortion as ordinary, acceptable, and accessible as taking an aspirin. They seem appallingly unconcerned about using the nation's women as guinea pigs for their social experimentation.

Janice Shaw Crouse is Executive Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.

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