State Abortion Law Restrictions a Factor in Drop in U.S. Abortion Rate

 

In our ongoing series on the factors behind why the US Abortion Rate Dropped 25% in Six Years, we have explored Factor One: Less Teen Intercourse, and Factors Two and Three: Pregnancy Centers and Delayed Childbearing. This article explores Factor Four: State Abortion Law Restrictions.

Since the Supreme Court passed Roe v. Wade in 1973, recognizing abortion as a woman’s constitutional right, thousands of laws have been brought before state and federal courts by each side of the abortion debate, either restricting abortions or permitting greater access to abortions. Restrictions vary from gestational limits, public and private insurance funding, provider refusal, counseling mandates, waiting periods, parental involvement, etc.

In recent years, there has been a steep increase in the number of abortion restrictions passed. A total of 231 new abortion restrictions were passed in the U.S. in the years 2011 to 2014. During this four-year period, state abortion restrictions were adopted at a faster rate than during the whole previous decade from 2001 to 2010 when a total of 189 restrictions were adopted.

The increase in state abortion restrictions does not appear to be slowing down. The Center for Reproductive Rights, which monitored over 2100 legislative proposals from 2010 to mid-2017, estimates that in 2016 alone, there were more than 500 abortion restrictions introduced by Republican state legislatures. Of those, 60 new restrictions passed in 19 states.

State abortion restrictions appear to have a clear correlation on the drop in the U.S. abortion rate. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 652,639 legal abortions which is significantly less than the 730,322 legal abortions in 2011. This represents a faster four-year decrease in U.S. abortions than the previous decade from 2001 (853,485 abortions) to 2010 (765,651 abortions).

Although there has been a huge increase in state restrictions across the country, contributing to the drop in national abortion numbers, that is NOT the case here in California. California has not had as many abortion restrictions as other states. Interestingly, California’s abortion rate has not seen the same sharp decrease witnessed by the rest of the country, either. According to the Guttmacher Institute, which polls each abortion clinic in California every three years, California saw a slight decrease in 2014 with 157,350 legal abortions, from 181,730 legal abortions in 2011. During the previous decade from 2001 to 2010, California’s abortion rate ranged from 236,060 abortions in 2000 (closest year to 2001 data collected) to 191,550 abortions in 2010.

It will be interesting in the years ahead to see if there is a divergence between the California abortion rate and the overall U.S. abortion rate as California continues to experience all the other effects of the trends we have been talking about, including the work of pregnancy centers while abortion clinics are closing, less teen intercourse and delayed childbearing but NOT state restrictions. In fact, California has gone in the opposite direction of other states and passed laws to reduce restrictions on abortions.

There are multiple factors contributing to the decline in the U.S. abortion rate occurring concurrently. California is an instance where we can observe one factor in play while another is not. Going forward it will be interesting to see if the change in the California abortion rate has a noticeable difference compared to the other states since it has all the other factors in play but not the state abortion restrictions.

 

Helpful Links

  1. US Abortion Rate Dropped 25% in Six Years
  2. Factor One: Less Teen Intercourse
  3. Factors Two and Three: Pregnancy Centers and Delayed Abortion
  4. Schedule an Appointment

 

References

  1. Guttmacher Institute. State Policy Overview of Abortion Laws. 1/18
  2. Abortion Stats 2001 – 2014  CDC numbers do not include NH, CA, and at least one other state.
  3. Abortion bills by Congress
  4. Johnston Archive. California Abortion Historical Data
  5. Guttmacher Institute. Laws Governing Reproductive Health and Rights 2014 State Policy
  6. Center for Reproductive Rights. Evaluating Priorities Report v2. 8/17
  7. National Right to Life. Reported Annual Abortions 1973-2014 Guttmacher vs. CDC
  8. Californians for Life. California Abortion Facts
Summary
State Abortion Law Restrictions a Factor in Drop in U.S. Abortion Rate
Article Name
State Abortion Law Restrictions a Factor in Drop in U.S. Abortion Rate
Description
In our ongoing series on the factors behind why the US Abortion Rate Dropped 25% in Six Years, we have explored Factor One: Less Teen Intercourse, and Factors Two and Three: Pregnancy Centers and Delayed Childbearing. This article explores Factor Four: State Abortion Law Restrictions.
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Support Circle Pregnancy Clinics San Francisco
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