Thursday, January 17, 2008

Abortion rate goes down

The number of abortions in the United States fell to the lowest level since the procedure was made legal some 35 years ago, according to a national study released Thursday.
The Guttmacher Institute, which researches issues pertaining to reproductive health and sexuality, said there were about 1.2 million abortions in 2005 -- 25 percent fewer than in 1990, when the number of abortions was about 1.6 million procedures.

In 2005, the US abortion rate was 19.4 abortions for every 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to figures compiled from surveying abortion providers. The 2005 figure represented an eight percent drop from the number of abortions in 2000.

The finding underscores a continued a downward trend that started after the abortion rate peaked at 29.3 procedures per 1,000 women in 1981, according to the institute.

Despite the drop, slightly more than one pregnancy in five ended in abortion in 2005, the Guttmacher Institute said.

"Our policymakers at the state and federal levels need to understand that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy, so we must redouble our efforts towards prevention, through better access to contraception," said Sharon Camp, president and chief executive officer of the Guttmacher Institute.

The last time the numbers were lower was in 1976 -- three years after abortions were legalized in the United States -- when 1.18 million abortions were performed.

Any forward progress on abortion is good news, but still 1.2 million deaths per year is unacceptable.