(CNSNews.com) – The number and rate of abortions performed in the United States has fallen to its lowest level since 1973 – the year that it was ruled legal by the U.S. Supreme Court.
According to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, there were an estimated 862,320 abortions performed in clinical settings in the U.S.
The abortion rate in 2017 dropped to 13.5 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44, which is considered the lowest rate recorded since Roe. v Wade.
There were 339,640 medication abortions in 2017, which accounted for 39 percent of all abortions.
The report said the increase in the number of state abortion restrictions was not the primary driver of the decline in abortion rates. It does cite the decrease in abortion facilities as a factor.
“There was also no consistent relationship between increases or decreases in clinic numbers and changes in state abortion rates,” the report stated.
“One factor that can contribute to declines in abortion is a reduction in the number of facilities providing this care. While hospitals and physicians’ offices constituted a substantial share of abortion-providing facilities, the overwhelming majority of abortions, 95%, were provided by clinics. Thus, our analysis focused on trends in clinic facilities during the study period,” it added.
The report points to “improvements in contraceptive use and increases in the number of individuals relying on self-managed abortions outside of a clinical setting” as factors in the decline in abortion.
To compile the report, between January 2018 and March 2019, the Guttmacher Institute’s Abortion Provider Census (APC) surveyed all health care facilities known or suspected of providing abortions in the U.S. in 2016 and 2017.
The Guttmacher Institute found the largest declines in abortion rates in Delaware, Arkansas, West Virginia, Alabama, and Virginia. Most of those states also had substantially lower abortion rates than the national rate in 2014.
However, abortion rates increased in Mississippi, New Jersey, Minnesota, Georgia, Maryland and Wisconsin.
“Indeed, states considered to be supportive of abortion rights in 2017—including large states such as California and New York—accounted for 43% of all U.S. abortions in that year but 55% of the decline since 2014,” the report stated.