National Leaders: Pro-Life Policies Have Led to Lowest Abortion Rate Since Roe v. Wade

In this July 26, 2016 file photo, a newborn baby with microcephaly rests at a maternity ward (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio, File)
AP Photo/Fernando Antonio

National pro-life leaders say American women are increasingly identifying with their movement and choosing life over abortion, as evidenced by the lowest number and rate of abortions since the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973.

A report at the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute observes the number of abortions fell from 1,058,000 in 2011 to 862,000 in 2017 – a 19 percent drop.

The abortion rate, calculated as the number of abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15-44, fell from 16.9 to 13.5, a 20 percent drop, during the same time period.

Additionally, the abortion ratio, the number of abortions per 100 pregnancies ending in either abortion or live birth, fell 13 percent from 21.2 to 18.4.

Pro-abortion rights Guttmacher states in its report headline, “State Abortion Restrictions Are Not the Main Driver,” but pro-life leaders beg to differ.

“We welcome the new report showing the decline in both the abortion rate and the overall number of abortions from 2011 to 2017,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), the research arm of the Susan B. Anthony List.

Donovan explained:

There are several reasons for this positive news, including factors that Guttmacher does their best to ignore. American mothers are increasingly choosing life for their children, as well as choosing to identify themselves with the pro-life cause and pro-life policies. This includes the broad protections for women and children being enacted at the state level such as strengthened health and safety standards for abortion facilities, limits on public funding of abortion, parental involvement laws, and increased informed consent.

Donovan warns, however, of the rise in drug-induced abortions.

“[I]t reveals the abortion industry’s increasingly successful effort to cut the overhead costs of surgical abortion,” he said, “while still profiting off the destruction of unborn children and wounding of his or her mother.”

Donovan said the abortion industry’s move to advance drug-induced abortions “carries with it the possibility of increasing the overall abortion rate over time and also carries with it a higher rate of injury, about which women are often under informed or deceived.”

Guttmacher stated the decline in abortions is likely “part of a broader decline in pregnancies, as evidenced by fewer births over the same period” or due to greater “contraceptive access.”

The abortion rights proponent said the move nationally and at the state level to restrict abortion serves only to deny women “bodily autonomy” and “reproductive freedom”:

[D]eclines in abortion do not serve patients if the reason behind the decline is interference with individuals’ decision making about their reproductive options. Reducing abortion by shuttering clinics and erecting logistical barriers for patients is in direct conflict with sound public health policy, and the debate should not be framed based on the false premise that any reduction in abortion is a good outcome. Rather, it is critical to remember that timely and affordable access to abortion should be available to anyone who wants and needs it. And it is equally important to recognize that obstructing or denying care in the name of reducing abortion is a violation of individuals’ dignity, bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom.

However, Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said, “When hearts, minds and laws are changed, lives are saved.”

“No matter how hard the abortion cartel fights to expand abortion, with an assist from Democrat lawmakers, the numbers keep falling,” he said.

“As for the assertion that more contraception means less abortion, it’s a worn-out pro-abortion talking point, and it’s also a marketing slogan,” Pavone countered. “After all, the same people selling abortion are selling contraception. Do they really believe they’re working against themselves? Nonsense. Both products reinforce each other, under the umbrella of a big ‘No’ to life!”

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