As we approach the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade abortion decision, here — in no particular order — are ten facts about abortion in Arkansas.
#1. Abortion in Arkansas is at Historic Lows
In 1973 there were 1,138 abortions performed in Arkansas.
By 1991 that number had risen to 6,889.
As recently as 2014, there were more than 4,200 abortions in Arkansas.
However, in the past four years the number of abortions has fallen to roughly 3,000 – 3,200 per year.
This puts abortion in Arkansas at a 42-year low.
#2. Abortion in Arkansas Will Become Virtually Illegal When Roe v. Wade is Overturned
Act 180 of 2019 generally prohibits abortion in Arkansas once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
The law contains exceptions for abortions performed to save the life of the mother.
This tracks closely with Arkansas’ abortion laws prior to Roe v. Wade.
#3. Teen Abortion is at An All-Time Low in Arkansas.
In 1986, nearly one in three abortions was performed on a teenager.
By 2018 that number had fallen to one in ten.
Teenagers used to be among the most likely to have an abortion in Arkansas. Today they are among those who are least likely to have an abortion.
#4. Teen Abortion Plummeted After Arkansas Began Teaching Abstinence Sex-Education in 1997
In the 1980s and 1990s, governors Bill Clinton and Jim Guy Tucker worked very hard to promote comprehensive sex-education in Arkansas.
These programs focused on teaching public school students about contraceptive use.
Governor Clinton’s administration in particular worked to promote and establish school-based health clinics that distributed contraceptives.
In 1997 the state switched strategies, promoting abstinence-based sex-education in public schools. The results were nothing short of staggering.
Teen birth rates and teen abortion rates in Arkansas plummeted.
From 1997 to 2003, the teen abortion rate fell by approximately 37%, and the teen birth rate fell by 16%.
Governor Huckabee’s abstinence-based sex education of the late 1990s and early 2000s was more than twice as effective combating teen pregnancy and teen abortion as Gov. Clinton’s and Gov. Tucker’s contraceptive-based sex-education programs.
#5. Arkansas’ Informed-Consent Law Has Saved About 1,200 Unborn Children Since 2015
In 2015 Arkansas passed one of the best informed-consent laws of any state in the country.
The law requires doctors to give women all the facts about abortion — including abortion’s risks, consequences, and alternatives.
The law initially required abortionists to give women at least 48 hours to weigh all their options before having an abortion, but the law has since been changed to give women 72 hours.
Based on state reports, we estimate that more than 1,200 women have chosen not to have abortions after being given the information required by this one law.
About 500 of those children will start preschool and Kindergarten this year.
#6. Most of the Women Who Have Abortions in Arkansas are Single Moms
Since 2015, between 52% and 66% of all women who had abortions in Arkansas were single moms.
The typical woman walking into an abortion clinic is a single mom who already has one or two children.
If we want to eliminate the demand for abortion, Christians need to help single moms, and we need to encourage couples to form stable, healthy families.
#7. Surgical Abortion is Declining in Arkansas
In 2014 there were 3,665 surgical abortions in Arkansas.
In 2018 were 2,090. That’s a 43% decrease in surgical abortions!
Surgical abortion is a particularly grisly procedure that dismembers the unborn baby and carries significant risks for the pregnant woman.
#8. Chemical Abortion is on the Rise
While abortion is falling to record lows overall, and the number of surgical abortions has dropped, the number of drug-induced abortions has increased in recent years.
That means that while fewer women are having abortions, those who do have abortions increasingly use abortion drugs like RU-486.
#9. Fewer Women are Coming to Arkansas From Out of State for Abortions
In 2014, nearly 23% of all abortions performed in Arkansas were on women who had come to Arkansas from out of state to have an abortion.
By 2018 that number had fallen to 10% — the lowest on record.
By strengthening the state’s pro-life laws, Arkansas is no longer “exporting” abortions to neighboring states like Tennessee, Missouri, or Louisiana.
#10. Arkansas is the Second Most Pro-Life State in America
The pro-life group Americans United for Life ranks Arkansas as the second most pro-life state in the nation.
Since 2012, Arkansas has moved from being the fifth most pro-life state in the country to the second.
Arkansas’ many laws protecting unborn children, the elderly, and the terminally ill make the state a leader in upholding the sanctity of human life.