U.S. abortion rate continues long-term decline

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In 2005, the U.S. abortion rate declined to 19.4 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15?44, continuing the downward trend that started after the abortion rate peaked at 29.3 in 1981, according to a new Guttmacher Institute census of U.S. abortion providers.

The abortion rate is now at its lowest level since 1974. The number of abortions declined as well, to a total of 1.2 million in 2005, 25% below the all-time high of 1.6 million abortions in 1990.

Despite these declines, slightly more than one in five pregnancies ended in abortion in 2005, an indicator of how much still needs to be done to help women and their partners avoid unintended pregnancy. “Our policymakers at the state and federal levels need to understand that behind virtually every abortion is an unintended pregnancy, so we must redouble our efforts towards prevention, through better access to contraception,” says Sharon L. Camp, president and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute.

This analysis is based on the Guttmacher Institute’s 14th census of all known abortion providers in the United States. The study, “Abortion in the United States: Incidence and Access to Services, 2005,” will appear in the March 2008 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Source: Guttmacher Institute, USA

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