US Abortion Rate Is Lowest Since Roe v Wade - but Contraception Access May Go
The decline in the abortion rate was greatest in the midwest, south and north-east. Abortion is still a common procedure – in 2014, Jones and Jerman estimate, US women had 926,200 abortions – but there were nevertheless shifts in how abortions were performed. The number performed with medication, which is only effective early in a pregnancy, rose 7% to account for 31% of abortions outside a hospital setting.
There are competing theories to explain the decline in the abortion rate. The drop coincided with the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which made more effective and expensive methods of contraception, such as IUDs, available to millions more women for no “copay” or prescription charge. But the decline also aligned with a historic spike in new, state-level abortion restrictions.
Some data – such as trends in contraception usage – that could help determine the reasons for the decline are not yet available for 2014. Still, the researchers predicted that the drop in the abortion rate had less to do with new restrictions than with changes in contraception usage and a reduction in unintended pregnancies.