The New Your Times reports this morning that abortions are declining in nearly all the states in the US – in some states by as much as 15 percent. Associated Press has conducted a detailed survey across the country which will be a major boost in morale for the pro-life movement there and elsewhere, suggesting as it does that their work is bearing fruit in terms of a significant change in values and behavior.
The Times reports that not only have abortions declined in states where new laws make it harder to have them — but they’ve also waned in states where abortion rights are protected. Nearly everywhere, in red states and blue, abortions are down since 2010, the Associated Press survey finds
Explanations vary, the Times continues. Abortion-rights advocates attribute it to expanded access to effective contraceptives and a drop in unintended pregnancies. Some foes of abortion say there has been a shift in societal attitudes, with more women choosing to carry their pregnancies to term.
Several of the states that have been most aggressive in passing anti-abortion laws — including Indiana, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma — have seen their abortion numbers drop by more than 15 percent since 2010. But more liberal states such as New York, Washington and Oregon also had declines of that magnitude, even as they maintained unrestricted access to abortion.
Nationwide, the AP survey showed a decrease in abortions of about 12 percent since 2010.
One major factor has been a decline in the teen pregnancy rate, which in 2010 reached its lowest level in decades. There’s been no official update since then, but the teen birth rate has continued to drop, which experts say signals a similar trend for teen pregnancies.
The work which has been done by positive education about human sexuality and the values associated with campaigns of people like Alveda King cannot be discounted as factors in this change – nor can the impact of pro life popular cultural influences like that in the film, Juno.
King, a niece of Martin Luther King Jr., calls herself a “reformed murderer” for undergoing two abortions when she was young.
Now an outspoken anti-abortion campaigner, Slate.com reported her saying last November that the best way to reduce abortions among black women is to dissuade more of them from premarital sex.
“We give free sex education, free condoms, free birth control,” she complained. “That’s almost like permission to have free sex, and the higher the rate of sexual activity, the higher the rate of unintended pregnancy.”
Read the full New York Times report here.