Abortion Rises in the US, Reversing a 30-Year Decline, Report Finding

The number of abortions in the United States has increased, reversing a three-decade decline, according to one new report.

According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that advocates for abortion rights, the rise in rates began in 2017 and as of 2020, one in five pregnancies, or 20.6%, has ended. end with abortion. In 2017, 18.4% of pregnancies ended in abortion.

The institute, which collects data by contacting every known abortion provider in the country, reports that the number of abortions has increased to 930,160 in 2020, from 862,320 in 2017. This number increased in every region of the country: 12% in the West, 10% in the Midwest, 8% in the South, and 2% in the Northeast.

New data released as the Supreme Court prepares to issue a ruling that could effectively overturn the Roe v. Wade has made abortion legal in the United States for nearly 50 years. If the final court ruling is similar to a draft opinion leaked last month, about half of the states are expected to quickly ban or drastically restrict abortion, while states Others are preparing to expand access to patients from states that don’t allow abortion.

Overall, the new report found, the abortion rate in 2020 rose to 14.4 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 from 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women of that age in 2017, 7% increase.

During this period, the report said, the number of births nationwide fell by 6%, meaning “fewer people became pregnant and of those who did, a larger proportion opted for an abortion”.

The report, which showed an increase in the number and rate of abortions in 33 states and the District of Columbia, said there was “no clear pattern” to explain each state’s trajectory. It suggests several reasons for the increase nationally, including trends that directly affect low-income populations, the population that has been most prone to abortions in recent years: Some the state expanded Medicaid coverage for abortions, and expanded funds that provide financial assistance to patients seeking abortions.

Another factor may be the Trump administration’s policy that prevents federal family planning programs, known as Title X funds, from offering abortion options to patients. As Guttmacher reports, that regulation has caused Planned Parenthood and some state governments to refuse to accept Title X funding, which could reduce access to other family planning services, including including contraception, and lead to more unwanted pregnancies. The Biden administration has since rescinded the Trump-era policy.

The increase in abortions comes at a time when many conservative countries are placing new restrictions on the procedure. But the report says while 25 states have enacted 168 regulations restricting abortion between 2017 and 2020, some have been halted due to regulatory challenges and many have been enacted by states that already have significant restrictions, so the new laws may not prevent more abortions.

At the same time, other states have enacted 75 provisions to protect or expand access to abortion, including by requiring insurance to cover abortions and by allowing nurses, physician assistants, Certified doctors and midwives provide some abortion services, the report said.

“It shows that people in every state are seeking abortions despite restrictive measures in the state,” said Leslie Reagan, a medical and public health historian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. many states.

The data covers most of the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. The report said that while access to abortion was disrupted in several states during that time, both due to attempted bans and due to disease outbreaks and limits on direct medical care, some The state maintains access to abortion. In addition, as of part of 2020, a judge’s ruling allowing abortion pills, more than half of the country’s abortionsmailed to the patient – a practice that the Food and Drug Administration has implemented long-term in December 2021.

Dr. Reagan, who wrote a book titled “When Abortion Is a Crime,” said she believes “severe unemployment and food insecurity drive closures” in the The pandemic has also fueled an increase in abortions. “Many people are unable to support themselves and their current families and know that they cannot raise a child.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, released a statement criticizing the rise in abortions. “The pro-life movement must continue to educate fellow Americans, and pro-life legislators at both the state and federal levels must be as ambitious as possible in building consensus,” she said. agree,” she said.

A news release from her team says that the new report shows a “significant increase in abortions in states like California, Illinois and New York that have expanded abortion policies in recent years.” and where there are virtually no restrictions on abortion until birth.”

In fact, the percentage increase in abortions in those states is less than in some conservative states, like Mississippi, where abortions increased 40 percent from 2017 to 2020, and Oklahoma, where abortions increased by 103 percent during that time.

The development in Mississippi is notable because it was the 2018 Mississippi law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy that currently stands before the Supreme Court. Guttmacher’s report says Mississippians sought abortions in surrounding states, but because those states enacted restrictive regulations that forced clinics to close, many patients went to one clinic. pregnancy in Mississippi.

Oklahoma just overcame the nation’s toughest ban abortion, but between 2017 and 2020, an increase in abortions is likely because more patients have traveled there from Texas, which has many restrictive laws. However, the new report shows that the number of abortions also increased in Texas during those years – 5 percent, the same percentage increase as in New York.

Of the 17 states where the numbers and rates fell, by far the biggest drop was in Missouri, which had 4,710 abortions in 2017 and 170 in 2020. The report said the drop was due to illness. Women from Missouri sought abortions in Illinois, where the number of abortions increased 25 percent during that time.

A handful of states in each region of the country had reductions, including five out of nine in the Northeast, reflecting the complex influences that determine who seeks abortions and where they get them.

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