Abortion Decline the Result of Contraceptive Use? Not So Fast.

Two weeks ago, the Guttmacher Institute released a study examining why the abortion rate in America is the lowest it’s been since 1973. The study specifically examined the abortion decline from 2008-2011, which came immediately before a nationwide surge in pro-life legislation.

Guttmacher concluded,

“With abortion rates falling in almost all states, our study did not find evidence that the national decline in abortions during this period was the result of new state abortion restrictions. We also found no evidence that the decline was linked to a drop in the number of abortion providers during this period…Rather, the decline in abortions coincided with a steep national drop in overall pregnancy and birth rates. Contraceptive use improved during this period, as more women and couples were using highly effective long-acting reversible contraceptive methods, such as the IUD. Moreover, the recent recession led many women and couples to want to avoid or delay pregnancy and childbearing.”

Now, it certainly is well established that our national birth rate is not as high as it used to be, and it’s no secret contraceptive use is increasingly common. However, Guttmacher’s assertion is, more or less, that people who would have had abortions in years past are now simply avoiding pregnancy altogether.

We decided to test that hypothesis by looking at the abortion and birth rates for Arkansas. The results are not as simple as Guttmacher would have us believe. (more…)