A new study released by the Guttmacher Institute on Tuesday found that abortions have reached a historic low, falling to under 1 million for the first time since 1975. According to the report 926,000 U.S. abortions were performed in 2014 and 957,000 in 2013. The rate fell to 14.6 terminations per 1,000 for women between the ages of 15 and 44. The rate is the lowest ever recorded by the pro-reproductive rights institute. Unfortunately, the news may not be as great as it seems on the surface.
Although the institute did not study the reasons for the sudden drop, they do have some theories. The first and perhaps the most obvious reason for the drop is the widespread use of contraceptives:
"At least some of the decline in abortion across the United States likely is due to declines in unintended pregnancy. Use of LARC methods increased 36% among all women using contraceptives between 2009 and 2012, and 48% among clients at Title X–supported family planning facilities."
The availability of birth control was greatly increased after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The health care bill that Republicans are so eager to repeal requires insurance companies offer women contraceptives without deductibles or co-pays. Obviously when women have greater access to preventative measures, the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy drops.
The second and third theories for the decrease in abortions, however, is far more despicable. According to the authors of the study, at least some women were probably not able to receive an abortion because of the many, many anti-women's rights laws that have passed across the country:
Abortion incidence can also decline if women who want abortions are unable to obtain them; abortion restrictions have the potential to reduce abortion incidence by impeding access to services. Between 2008 and 2011, some 24 states enacted 106 abortion restrictions...Perhaps the most high-profile case was Texas, which, in 2013, implemented TRAP laws requiring that physicians who provided abortions have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and that clinics providing abortions meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Following the implementation of these laws, more than half of the 46 clinics in the state closed, and the abortion rate had declined 13% by April 2014.
The authors went on to explain that back alley, illegal abortions could be another reason for the decrease:
When unable to access abortion services in the face of restrictive laws, some women may turn to self-induced abortion. One study estimated that as many as 100,000 women aged 18–49 residing in Texas had ever attempted to end a pregnancy on their own, and a media analysis found that interest in self-induced abortion—as measured via Google searches—was higher in states with restrictive abortion laws than in states without them. If substantial numbers of women were able to have abortions outside of a health care setting, the estimated incidence of abortions occurring in clinical settings would be too low.
Ultimately, there is no definitive explanation why the abortion rate has dropped but it is likely a combination of all three of the factors above and they illustrate the stark difference between liberals and conservatives. Democrats, like President Obama, have sought to decrease the need for abortion services through education and safe preventative measures. Republicans have chosen to go the anti-common sense route and forced women to either have children they cannot support or caused those desperate women to perform life threatening abortions on themselves. While both may seem to reduce the need for women to seek to terminate pregnancies, only Democrats truly aim to prevent them.
As a bonus, the left actually believes that if a woman goes through with a pregnancy and cannot afford to care for the child, they should still be fed, housed, educated and receive medical care. Republicans, on the other hand, force the women to have children and then try to rip social safety nets from under their feet.
Tell me again: Which party is truly "pro-life"?