U.S. Abortion Rate Hits Record Low: CDC

U.S. Abortion Rate Hits Record Low: CDC

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Dec. 11, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. abortion rate has declined by more than one-third over the past two decades to a record low, federal officials reported Friday.

Abortions fell 35 percent between 1990 and 2010, reaching 17.7 procedures per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, said report lead author Sally Curtin, a statistician for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

That’s the lowest abortion rate since the CDC began tracking the procedure in 1976, Curtin said.

“Abortion has been on a nearly steady decline since the rate peaked in 1980,” she said.

The pregnancy rate also hit an all-time low in 2010, according to the report.

Many factors likely contribute to the reduction in abortions, but increased use of highly effective birth control is one of the most important trends, said report co-author Kathryn Kost, principal research scientist at the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health think-tank.

Pregnancy rates have been declining across the board for women under age 30, according to the CDC report. That includes a 67 percent reduction for teens 14 or younger and a 50 percent reduction for teens 15 to 19.

At the same time, pregnancy rates increased for women 30 and older between 1990 and 2010, suggesting that men and women are using effective contraception and choosing to start families later in life, Kost said.

“Across the states, the rate of unintended pregnancy is going down,” Kost said. “That suggests that fewer women are getting pregnant when they don’t want to. It’s happening across the board, and affects the birth rate and the abortion rate.”

Eric Ferrero, vice president of communications for Planned Parenthood, agreed, adding that “there is more that can be done to improve access to contraception, which will help further reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy.”

Randall O’Bannon, director of education and research for the National Right to Life Educational Trust Fund, said the abortion rate is declining because “people’s attitudes and actions regarding abortion have changed.”

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