May 30, 2024

US abortions hit 30-year low

But neither side is sure why

American abortions have hit their
lowest level since 1976 — 1.2 million in 2005, down from 1.3 million
in 2000. According to a survey by the Guttmacher Institute, an
abortion research organisation, the proportion of women ending their
pregnancies with an abortion dropped 9% in the 5 years. However,
neither side of the abortion debate is sure why the numbers have
dropped. Putting a positive spin on the numbers, supporters emphasise
the wider availability of the morning-after pill, the rapid growth in
the abortion drug RU-486 and more sex education. Opponents pointed to
changing attitudes and more restrictions.

Complicating the interpretation of
the decline in overall numbers is the rise in the use of RU-486.
Chemical abortions have been rising by 22% a year and now account for
14% of all abortions. This means that more than one in five abortions
performed by the ninth week of pregnancy probably happens at home.
"The impact and the promise is huge," Beth Jordan, medical
director of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals,
told the Washington Post. "It’s going a long way towards
normalising abortion." More than half of abortion providers now
offer patients the option of using RU-486, a 70% increase from the
first half of 2001. ~ Washington Post, Jan 17; Washington Post, Jan 22