National Decline in Abortion Rate & Teen Pregnancies

Recent analysis by the Associated Press has shown a 12% decline in abortions across the United States since 2010. The study surprisingly found that both states with increased abortion restrictions and those with less abortion restrictions have experienced a decline in the number of abortions.

States without abortion restrictions have experienced a decline of at least 20%, with Hawaii reaching a decline of 30%. Although abortion laws play a role in access to abortions, this decline can be attributed to an increase in sex education and access to contraceptives. In fact, “Planned Parenthood health centers across the US have reported a 91% jump in the use of contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices since 2009.” In addition to the decline of abortion rates, the number of teen pregnancies has also decreased in recent years, and is likewise attributed to increased access to effective contraception methods and increased sex education.

The exception to these findings are two states, Michigan and Louisiana, who experienced an increase in abortion by 18.5% and 12% respectively. The increase in Louisiana, however, demonstrates an important lesson showing that the number of clinics and the number of abortions are mutually exclusive. Increasing abortion restrictions doesn’t necessarily mean less abortions and greater access and number of clinics doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in abortions. In fact, the number of abortion clinics in Louisiana was greater in 2010 than in 2014. This demonstrates the 12% increase isn’t due to the number of abortion clinics but potentially due to a lack of education and awareness about pregnancy and contraceptives. Some believe the increase in Louisiana and Michigan is also due, in part,  to increased restrictions in surrounding states. The strict restrictions limit options for women in search of reproductive health care and information, forcing them to cross borders to receive the treatment they need from the resources available in those states.

Overall the national decrease in abortions and teen pregnancies demonstrates a step in the right direction. One towards increased access and education on contraceptives as well as increased sex education and information available to all.


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