Good news on abortion
Given the entrenched anger on both sides of the abortion debate, we don’t expect a truce for a joint celebration of the latest abortion figures. But both sides have something to cheer about.
Earlier this week, the Guttmacher Institute released a report that indicates the rate of abortions nationwide in 2011 — 17 abortions for every 1,000 women — was down from 2008, and is now just slightly above the rate in 1973, the year the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade decision.
And it’s not just the rate of abortion that dropped. The Guttmacher study also found that the total number of abortions in this country declined from roughly 1.25 million in 2008 to 1.1 million in 2011.
Those on the anti-abortion side will no doubt proclaim those numbers are still too high. But they can also make a reasonable argument that their efforts to inform young women about the perils of abortion and to highlight political fights about it are having an effect.
On the other side, those who believe in unrestricted access to abortion can cheer the fact that more and more young women, according to the Guttmacher study, are turning to new and better forms of birth control to prevent pregnancies from occurring in the first place.
Whatever one’s views, the Guttmacher study, which tracks with similar reports from the federal Centers for Disease Control, is welcome evidence that abortion is declining, not rising.