Research on annual abortion statistics has revealed that less than a million women sought out the procedure in 2017. But the reason for the decline is not what many conservatives might believe.
Even as restrictive laws have passed in a number of states — about 400 of them from 2011 to 2017 — most of the decline that was reported happened in states where such restrictions were not implemented at all, Axios reported.
The data is based on numbers compiled by the Guttmacher Instituted, which tallies up the total number of abortions across the country by contacting individual providers. Federal data is less reliant for exact figures, as the CDC does not compile numbers from California, Maryland, or New Hampshire, according to reporting from the Associated Press.
Five states plus the District of Columbia saw increases in the number of abortion procedures, but rates dropped elsewhere, leading to an overall drop across the nation.
In all, about 862,000 abortions were reported by Guttmacher in 2017, a drop from 926,000 six years earlier. A little more than a million were reported by the non-profit group a decade earlier.
U.S. abortion numbers are at their lowest since 1973, when the procedure was legalized nationwide, a new report says https://t.co/KM5WClY4lx
— PIX11 News (@PIX11News) September 18, 2019
What led to the sharp decline? Exact reasons are not known, but it was likely caused by the fact that fewer women are getting pregnant. This outcome is likely due in no small part to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which has expanded access to women across the country to affordable contraceptive services, allowing them to decide when to become pregnant on their own time.
That matches a trend, too, that predates the Affordable Care Act. According to TIME magazine, the birth rates of women having children after age 35 have gone up significantly since the 1990s. Still, it would appear the ACA has helped provide more women wanting to have children later in life with the means to do so.
Scientific studies seem back that conclusion. In 2017, a study was published by the University of Michigan that found women who could stay on their parents’ insurance plans longer, and thus had access to birth control, were 10 percent less likely to seek out an abortion.
The policy that led to women (and men) being allowed to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 was enacted, as part of the ACA, in 2010.