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U.S. Abortion Rates Lowest In 30 Years

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Thursday, September 25, 2008 1:26 PM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: FDA & Prescription Drugs, Abortion, Women's Health


IMAGE SOURCE: iStockphoto / abortion / author: Spauln

A new report conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, nonprofit organization that supports choice, finds abortion rates in this country have reached a 30-year low, particularly among teens, which at one time had the highest abortion rates.

“Many Americans will embrace the news that there are less abortions, especially among teens and that the larger percentage of abortions are occurring earlier in pregnancy,” said Sharon L. Camp, president of Guttmacher Institute.

Teen abortion rates declined by half or more, from 42 per 1,000 in 1989 to 20 per 1,000 in 2004, according to the report which examined trends among women who had abortions in a 30-year period starting in 1974 – a year after abortion was legalized by the Supreme Court.

Overall abortion rates in the U.S. peaked shortly after the procedure was first legalized in 1973, remained consistent, for the most part, during the 1980s and has steadily continued to decline thereafter, according to the report.

“In 1990, after hitting a peak of 1.61 million, abortion rates decreased to 1.22 million in 2004, despite continued population growth in the country,” the report said.

18 to 19-year-olds had the highest rates of abortion from 1974 to 1989, peaking during those 15 years at 62 procedures per 1,000 women in their age group.

Teenage abortion rates have steadily declined since.

One of the main reasons for the decline among teens – which started prior to abstinence-only sex education programs – can be attributed to widespread use of contraceptives and more effective methods, the report said.

While abortion rates have declined overall for all ethnic and racial groups, rates among Hispanic women remained at 28 abortions per 1,000 women in 2004 and among black women it was more than double across-the-board at 50 per 1,000.

“The high rates among Hispanic and black women reflects the increasing minority population in this country,” concluded the report. #

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