A new report showing the nation’s abortion rate has fallen 24 percent since 2009 is drawing celebration in the pro-life community.
The data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that from 2009 to 2018, the abortion rate, abortion ratio and total number of abortions in the U.S. all experienced dramatic declines.
The abortion rate fell 24 percent, with 11.3 abortions recorded in 2018 per 1,000 women ages 15–44 years (compared to 14.9 abortions per 1,000 women age 15–44 years in 2009).
The abortion ratio declined 16 percent, with 189 abortions per 1,000 live births, compared to 224 abortions per 1,000 live births in 2009.
The total number of abortions dropped 22 percent, from 786,621 abortions in 2009 to 614,820 abortions in 2018.
“Overall, this is good news for pro-lifers” said Michael New, a pro-life advocate and a professor at the Catholic University of America, in a National Review column.
The data includes reports from every state except California and New Hampshire, which did not report abortion data during those years. Neither state has reported abortion data since 1997.
The CDC report also showed a slight increase in abortions from 2017 to 2018, with the total number of abortions and abortion rate increasing 1 percent and the abortion ratio edging up 2 percent.
Still, the majority of the report contains good news for pro-lifers, New said.
“Coverage of new abortion data often focuses on short-term trends. However, the long-term decline in the U.S. abortion rate is far more impressive,” New wrote.
Although media reports often credit contraceptive use for the declines, New says Guttmacher Institute data shows that since 1980, “there has been a significant increase in the percentage of unintended pregnancies carried to term.” Guttmacher is a pro-choice research organization.
“This statistic provides solid evidence that the educational, service, and legislative efforts of pro-lifers likely have been effective,” New wrote. “Hopefully, this updated CDC data will provide pro-lifers with some encouragement as we continue our efforts to build a culture of life.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.